The Rotoworld Football crew’s Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
DE: Zach Allen
DE: Corey Peters
NT: Jordan Phillips
MLB Jordan Hicks
MLB: De'Vondre Campbell
OLB: Chandler Jones
OLB: Devon Kennard
CB: Patrick Peterson
CB: Byron Murphy
SCB: Jalen Davis
S: Budda Baker
S: Jalen Thompson
Offensive line: The Cardinals join the Rams, Dolphins and Jets as the only teams with fewer than $20 million devoted to their offensive line. Kyler Murray improved at avoiding pressure as the season went on, ultimately posting the second-longest average time from snap to sack among all QBs. Still, Arizona has drafted just one offensive lineman with a top-three round pick since 2016. For now, the 2020 Cardinals sure look a lot like the 2019 Browns.
Pass catcher: Obviously adding DeAndre Hopkins was huge, but the Cardinals likely aren't done adding pieces to an offense that coach Kliff Kingsbury would ideally like to be even more four-WR heavy. Larry Fitzgerald has to retire at some point (right?), and Christian Kirk was the only other consistently-reliable pass catcher in this offense last season. Perhaps 2019 draft picks Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson and/or Hakeem Butler can step it up in 2020, but either way this offense needs to surround Murray with more talent, regardless of the position.
Secondary: This pass defense was bad against No. 1 WRs (27th in DVOA), TEs (32nd) and RBs (30th) alike last season. Patrick Peterson and Budda Baker should be the only locked-in starters, as the group's other talents simply failed to consistently perform in 2019. The Cardinals were one of just six defenses to allow at least seven net yards per pass attempt.
Cardinals' 2020 Draft Picks
1 (8). OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama - It is imperative that Steve Keim and company elevate the overall talent of the Cardinals offensive line. Kyle Murray’s rookie season was incredible, but he constantly elevated numerous average talents around him. Wills is a lockdown right tackle who absolutely possesses the requisite athleticism to succeed in Kliff Kingsbury’s running scheme.
3 (72). S/CB K’Von Wallace, Clemson - The Cardinals can improve their slot defender. With much of the league moving away from smaller, shiftier options to bigger thumpers with good movement, Wallace might be a perfect fit. He played in the box 30% of the time for Clemson last season, and 46% in the slot. I’m sure Adrian Wilson’s safety evaluations are highly regarded in the Cardinals draft room.
4 (114). iDL Leki Fotu, Utah - Jordan Phillips is one space-eater the Cardinals added, but they need more. Pass defense is certainly more important than run defense, but nothing is more demoralizing than never getting off the field because you can’t stop the run, drive after drive.
4 (131). EDGE Derrek Tuszka, North Dakota State - Productive Day 3 pass rushers can be difficult to identify. When in doubt, side with athleticism. Tuszka boasts a 6.87 3-cone, one of the best figures at the position in this class.
6 (202). TE Colby Parkinson, Stanford - Maxx Williams might be the next example of a tight end who may find his form on his second team. But if the Cardinals want even more receiving chops in the slot, Parkinson fits the mold.
7 (222). CB DeMarkus Acy, Missouri - Acy’s 13 pass deflections in 2018 suggests good ball skills, and it shows up on tape. Acy has a good feel for peeling off zones or high pointing targets at the catch point.
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