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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: Cardinals

by Evan Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.


For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

 

No. 1 Team Need: Offensive Line

 

 

Silva's Analysis

 

Arizona's biggest need entering the offseason was outside pass rusher. GM Steve Keim ponied up to address it, sending New England a 2016 second-round pick and OG Jonathan Cooper in exchange for Chandler Jones. Center has not been addressed and is Big Red's biggest remaining weakness with T-Rex armed journeyman A.Q. Shipley erasable-penciled atop the depth chart. The Cardinals may also look to draft a guard. 35-year-old rental Evan Mathis is on a one-year deal and once-promising fourth-round pick Earl Watford has gone three years without nailing down a job.

 

No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Back

Silva's Analysis

The Cardinals' biggest secondary need is cornerback, where mediocre Jerraud Powers has not been re-signed and Justin Bethel struggled in a late-season starting role. Slot CB Tyrann Mathieu has suffered two ACL tears in three years. Arizona needs an early contributor at corner and seems likely to draft one early. Safety also can't be ignored with Tony Jefferson, D.J. Swearinger and Chris Clemons all in contract years.

 

No. 3 Team Need: Linebacker

Silva's Analysis

 
While converted safety Deone Bucannon has locked down the Cardinals' one every-down inside linebacker role, Kevin Minter has been up and down as the situational two-down thumper. Arizona has no depth behind Bucannon and Minter.

 

 

Norris' Mock Draft


Round 1 (29): CB T.J. Green, Clemson - Green strictly played safety for Clemson last season, frequently lining up as the safety closer to the line of scrimmage. At 6-foot-3, 204 with 32-inch arms and good athleticism, many teams will be looking at Green as a corner. Those types do not stick at safety, as many teams values corners more. The Packers followed a similar transition last year with first-round pick Damarious Randall.

 

Round 3 (92): C Austin Blythe, Iowa - Ryan Kelly is the clear top center in this class, but he might be off the board before the Cardinals draft in round one. Blythe is a great movement center, reaching blocks at the line of scrimmage and locating linebackers at the second level.

 

Round 4 (128): LB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia - I could see Kwiatkoski being drafted as early as the third round, since he offers at least adequate skills both in coverage and moving forward against the run. At the very least, he could spell Kevin Minter in some situations.

 

Round 5 (167): QB Cardale Jones, Ohio State - I know many are projecting Cardale to be drafted earlier than this. That is obviously possible. But more than the round, I want to talk about the fit. A big-armed passer is right in Bruce Arians’ wheelhouse. It failed with Logan Thomas, but Cardale is a superior prospect (which is easy to say now).

 

Round 5 (170): S Sharrod Neasman, FAU - A prospect who was not discussed during the draft process, but is receiving plenty of interest from teams in the same way Rodney Gunter was last year.

 

Round 6 (205): G Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati - Another offensive lineman who might be able to occupy the utility guard/tackle role.


 

 

Cardinals Current Offensive Depth Chart

 

QB: Carson Palmer

 

RB: David Johnson

 

WR: Larry Fitzgerald

 

WR: John Brown

 

WR: Michael Floyd

 

TE: Darren Fells

 

LT: Jared Veldheer

 

LG: Mike Iupati

 

C: A.Q. Shipley

 

RG: Evan Mathis

 

RT: D.J. Humphries

 

Cardinals Current Defensive Depth Chart

 

RE: Calais Campbell

 

LE: Frostee Rucker

 

NT: Rodney Gunter

 

ILB: Deone Bucannon

 

ILB: Kevin Minter

 

OLB: Chandler Jones

 

OLB: Alex Okafor

 

LCB: Patrick Peterson

 

RCB: Justin Bethel

 

FS: Tony Jefferson

 

SS: Tyvon Branch

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .