As I type this mock draft, the Arizona Cardinals are currently on the clock to kick off the 2019 NFL Draft. It's an exciting and yet stressful feeling, especially for the position the Cardinals are in.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it for you, this is one of the worst rosters in the NFL. Not that they don't have some nice pieces to build off of; on defense they obviously have guys like Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson, and on the offensive side they have their quarterback of the future in place with Josh Rosen. But, there is a lot of work to be done on both sides of the trenches and with playmakers needed on offense and defense, as well.
To give the Cardinals and their fans the turnaround they deserve, I pulled up The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine, which releases to the public on February 25th. You can draft for one team, two teams, all the way up to all 32.
But for this one, it's all about Arizona and number one.
Round 1, Pick No. 1: Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
This goes without saying, but if you're a team picking No. 1 overall, chances are you're not very good, so you better not blow it -- especially since, as a franchise, you hope you're not picking No. 1 overall very often. Nick Bosa would in no way be "blowing it." He is truly the best player in the draft, and his talent comes at a position that is highly coveted every year. Thankfully for the Cardinals, all of that lines up with a big need of theirs as well.
The Cardinals could stand to trade down and get a few extra picks for more players, but if they're staying at No. 1, Bosa is the guy.
Round 2, Pick No. 33: Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
The Cardinals need a lot of work on their offensive line. In fact, if they doubled up on offensive line in the early portions of the draft, that wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. D.J. Humphries is likely still going to be around, but they definitely need another starting caliber offensive tackle. Cajuste gives them that with toughness and a strong base for gap and power schemes.
Round 3, Pick No. 65: Dre'Mont Jones, IDL, Ohio State
Though the Cardinals can address a strong defensive need at the top of this draft, they could still stand to get another piece on the defensive line early on in the Top 100. Dre'Mont Jones knows Nick Bosa well, so the chemistry of the Buckeyes pass rushers would be there. Jones is interesting because he is more of a finesse interior defensive tackle at a lower weight, and though I am not sure the Cardinals have the right compliment for a player like Jones on the inside right now, they could soon in the future, and his impact could be strong then. He's still a talent worth taking in round three.
Round No. 4, Pick No. 97: Daniel Wise, IDL, Kansas
Ah, now we're talking about a compliment to a guy like Dre'Mont Jones. Wise was a monster at the Shrine Week practices and really impressed me with how dominant he was against almost any offensive lineman he faced -- sometimes even taking on two at once. He's a very nice pass rusher as an interior player, and would work great in a rotation with Robert Nkemdiche and Jones. As we saw with the Eagles when they won the Super Bowl, you want to create waves of pass rushers.
Round 5, Pick No. 129: Chuma Edoga, OT, USC
Speaking of players that impressed during an All-Star week, Edoga really stood out as a tackle during Senior Bowl practices. Though the Cardinals would have Humphries and Cajuste as their tackle options, to this point, I like selecting him, if available, over other interior offensive linemen who would be left. Good offensive linemen can play. That's my thought process here, and the Cardinals need good offensive linemen.
Round 6, Pick No. 161: Paris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
Larry Fitzgerald said he was coming back for one more year, but beyond him and for the future, there isn't much to brag about beyond Christian Kirk. The Cardinals need playmakers for 2019 and into the next few years into Rosen's development. Campbell gives them a dynamic after-the-catch guy who would be a nice option to add this late -- though they could likely prioritize a bigger wide receiver, too, if available.
Round 7, Pick No. 193: Blace Brown, CB, Troy
The Cardinals did acquire Robert Alford and D.J. Swearinger to go into 2019, so they do have some different players to try to upgrade their defensive back positions, but how long will Alford be a legit option for them at cornerback? If they can get a guy like Blace Brown, who has nice size, good tape but a projection to the next level with a bump in competition, that would play well into their depth and for potential future plans.
*REMINDER*: You can play general manager for your favorite team too when Mock Draft Machine releases to the public on February 25th!