The offseason is filled with draft profiles, free agency news, and mock drafts. Doing a mock draft prior to the start of free agency is one of the most futile exercises a person could undertake. Yet here we are, a week away from the start of free agency, and more than a month away from the actual draft. This is our first Cardinals mock draft, with a few more to come over the next few weeks.
This draft was done using FanSpeak’s Mock Draft Simulator. There are no trades in this mock draft so the picks will be made as the order currently stands. Arizona’s picks are as follows:
Round 1: Pick 15 (15th overall)
Round 2: Pick 15 (47th overall)
Round 3: Pick 15 & pick 33 (79th and 97th overall)
Round 4: Pick 34 (134th overall)
Round 5: Pick 15 (152nd overall)
Round 6: No Pick
Round 7: Pick 36 (254th overall)
Here are the results of our Mock Draft.
With this mock the Cardinals address just about every pressing need with some major talent and value. This draft works best with a Cardinals roster that has already found a veteran quarterback as the team will likely need their rookie pick to sit and learn for a while. However, there is a good chance their pick will get a shot to compete for the job.
Round 1 (15): CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Since the Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson in 2011 they have been attempting to find a cornerback opposite of him for the long-term. They’ve shuffled veteran after veteran and have utilized the occasional young cornerback recently released for inconsistent play. On a team that will rely heavily on its defense, selecting Ward in the middle of the first round would be a coup.
The Cardinals come up against a division with three franchise quarterbacks and offenses that are ready to throw the ball around the field. With Ward in the secondary, Arizona will have a formidable defense that would help mask their offensive deficiencies.
Round 2 (47): WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Kirk is from Arizona. The Cardinals need offensive playmakers. The Cardinals getting Kirk would be something to celebrate. The explosive receiver is a dynamic playmaker and can score every time he touches the football. Kirk is a slot option at receiver but can be moved around to optimize matchups. He also has the ability to play returner on kickoffs and punts. The rookie would add some toughness to the position group. Something lacking from the room outside of Fitzgerald.
Round 3 (79): QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
Lauletta was phenomenal at Richmond, increasing production over his final two seasons. He is considered a leader, having been voted team captain twice. The former FCS quarterback has experience playing in various formations and is comfortable in the shotgun or under center. He may not have a cannon for an arm but showed tremendous accuracy throughout his career. Lauletta would be a good candidate to compete for the starting job with a veteran.
Round 3 (97): TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Another homegrown talent returns home with Mark Andrews. Andrews is 6’5” and weighs well over 250 lbs. He also ran a 4.67/40 at the combine. That type of size and speed in a tight end brings up visions of Arizona’s version of Rob Gronkowski. It has long been said that a tight end is a quarterback’s best friend and Andrews looks like a good bet. In 2017 he was Oklahoma’s leading receiver with 62 catches for 958 yards and eight scores. The Cardinals need help putting points on the board and a talented tight end like Andrews is a big step in the right direction.
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Round 4 (134): OT Will Richardson, North Carolina State
Richardson is an interesting prospect. He played offensive tackle for the Wolfpack but has the ability to kick inside to guard if needed. Based on talent, Richardson should be someone drafted in the first three rounds. However, off-field issues present a red flag which may lead to him sliding even further than the fourth round. He was second team All-ACC last season as a junior and could be a steal for anyone if picked this late.
Round 5 (152): WR D.J. Chark, LSU
We previously profiled Chark here. The speedster has the athleticism to make plays all over the field. He was not heavily used at LSU, but that was more the offensive system being used than lack of ability. Chark is more of a developmental player as a receiver as he will need to refine his route running. However, his explosiveness and versatility in the return game are major benefits.
Round 7 (254): DL PJ Hall, Sam Houston State
Hall is a nose tackle who spent his first few years in college as a 280-pound defensive end. After adding some weight before last season, he moved to the inside and became someone NFL scouts began to watch. He is immensely athletic and will compete for playing time in his rookie season. The Cardinals need better depth along the defensive line and Hall would be a low risk but high reward selection late in the draft.
Overall the Cardinals would be happy with a draft like this one. It addresses various concerns along the roster and sets up a team with talented youngsters who will have time to grow. We’ll be back next week with our second mock draft of the offseason.