The Cardinals have several talented defensive players to choose from at No. 13 overall. I've had them taking a cornerback for a while, but if either Haason Reddick or Reuben Foster is available, I see them having a difficult time passing on one of them. Arizona has a big need at inside linebacker, as Karlos Dansby can't be counted on to start next to Deone Bucannon.
Reddick's stock has been on fire, and it sounds like he's going to be chosen in the top 15. Arizona is a very realistic landing spot.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Reuben Foster, LB - Foster tested positive at the combine, and there's been some speculation that his stock could fall. However, the Cardinals have selected Robert Nkemdiche and Tyrann Mathieu in the past, so I don't think they'll pass on Foster for any off-the-field concerns.
2. Kevin King, CB - King has been gaining a ton of momentum and could be taken in the teens.
Rd. 2, Pk. 13
Budda Baker, S, Washington
The Cardinals have to continue to bolster the middle of their defense. They added an inside linebacker in the first round, and they'll get a replacement for Tony Jefferson at this juncture.
Rd. 3, Pk. 13
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
The Cardinals re-signed Jermaine Gresham, but they could still be in the market for a second-day tight end.
Rd. 4, Pk. 12
Jermaine Eluemunor, G/OT, Texas A&M
The Cardinals still have some issues on the offensive line that they need to address, as they need to replace the retired Evan Mathis.
Rd. 5, Pk. 13
Amba Etta-Tawo, WR, Syracuse
Michael Floyd is gone, while Larry Fitzgerald could retire soon. Arizona will have to find a new receiver.
Rd. 5, Pk. 35
Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Pittsburgh
The Cardinals had injury issues on the offensive line last year, so I'm sure they'll be looking for blocking depth on Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 6, Pk. 13
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
The Cardinals could stand to add some running back depth behind David Johnson.
Rd. 7, Pk. 13
Ryan Glasgow, DT, Michigan
The Cardinals will need to find a replacement for the departed Calais Campbell at some point.
Sources have told me that Bruce Arians loves Pat Mahomes, so I think he and Deshaun Watson could be in play here. The Cardinals could easily take a linebacker in Reuben Foster, but they took a chance on a character concern last year in Robert Nkemdiche, and that doesn't look very good a year later. Howard is one of the safest picks in the 2017 NFL Draft and will give Arizona a receiving weapon. Larry Fitzgerald is aging, Michael Floyd was cut, and John Brown is in the last year of his contract. Here's a long-term weapon for Arizona.
Howard is a safe pick, meanwhile, and the organization, including general manager Dave Caldwell, needs a safe pick after Luke Joeckel was a bust, Blake Bortles is trending that direction, and Dante Fowler is still an unknown. Howard is one of the safest picks in the 2017 NFL Draft as a plug-and-play starter. Marcedes Lewis turns 33 just after the draft and is more of a blocker, while receiving tight end Julius Thomas was traded away. Howard would give Bortles another weapon, and Howard's blocking would be an upgrade over Thomas in double-tight end sets.
Howard had 45 catches for 595 yards and three touchdowns in 2016. In 2015, he made 38 catches for 602 yards and two touchdowns. Howard totaled 17 receptions for 260 yards in 2014. The 6-foot-5, 249-pounder flashed big-time potential in 2013. The freshman hauled in 14 passes for 269 yards - 19.2 average - with two touchdowns.
The talented tight end was very under-utilized by Alabama, generally. As he proved with Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Amari Cooper and then Calvin Ridley, former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin settles on one receiver and struggles to call plays for anyone else regardless of their talent or mismatch potential. Howard is a fast and dangerous receiving weapon who is a dynamic mismatch weapon. He is too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers. Howard looks like a future Pro Bowl tight end. Sources say Howard still needed to improve his route-running and blocking, but he was able to show progress in those areas as a senior. His blocking was significantly better to the point that he was making an impact as a blocker late in his senior year.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Davis Webb, QB, California
The Cardinals grab their understudy for Carson Palmer.
In 2016, Webb completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards with 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The graduate transfer has a strong arm and can make some well-placed passes downfield. He also has good size and stands tall in the pocket. Webb shows some field vision to work through his progressions, but he doesn't have mobility for the NFL. In terms of the critical characteristic of accuracy, Webb has potential. Sources say Webb (6-4, 229) can be erratic, but that they like him enough to think of him as a potential second-day pick. California's offense does a poor job of preparing quarterbacks for the NFL - see Jared Goff -, so Webb will have to learn calling plays in the huddle, working under center, traditional footwork for a pro quarterback, and running NFL plays instead of California's Bear Raid college plays.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
The Cardinals cut Michael Floyd, John Brown is in the last year of his contract, and Larry Fitzgerald is aging. Thus, Arizona could target some receiver help.
Dupre totaled 41 receptions for 593 yards and three touchdowns in 2016, but LSU's receivers were generally held back by the program's quarterback play. In 2015, Dupre had 43 receptions for 698 yards and six touchdowns despite poor quarterback play in a ground-based scheme. As a freshman in 2014, he recorded 14 catches for 318 yards for five scores. Dupre (6-2, 196) has a lot of potential and could have produced more if he had played in a passing offense.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic
The Cardinals could add multiple defensive linemen since Calais Campbell left in free agency and Robert Nkemdiche struggled as a rookie.
Hendrickson was one of the stars of the East-West Shrine with a strong week of practice. He did well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones and notched a lot of wins. In 2016, Hendrickson totaled 51 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes batted. He had 13.5 sacks as a junior.
Hendrickson could be a mid-round sleeper. Sources have said they graded him in the early rounds of Day 3, but sneaking into the second day is possible. Hendrickson had an impressive combine performance.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Dwayne Thomas, CB, LSU
The Cardinals grab a corner to compete.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Eddie Vanderdoes, DT/3-4DE/NT, UCLA
The Cardinals grab more interior defensive line competition.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Marquez White, CB, Florida State
The Cardinals will probably add some corner competition in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Dylan Cole, OLB, Missouri State
The Cardinals have hosted Cole and could use some edge-defender depth.
6'2.75" 209 lbs. 33.0" arm, 9.125" hand
2016 stats: 1500 yards on 97 catches, 19 TD's
Arizona Cardinals own the thirteenth overall pick:
Corey Davis. Where do I begin? Talk about hit-or-miss. He' a small-school prospect with a low floor and a high ceiling, who had to skip the combine due to a "nagging" ankle injury. He's got tremendous upside, so he definitely won't fall too far. Western Michigan hasn't exactly been a farm for NFL talent to say the least, but being the most prolific receiver in NCAA history sort of overrides the school the kid went to. Corey Davis should find a place in the NFL as a physical X receiver.
The Cardinals are in a tight spot currently, with an ineffective QB, a soon-to-retire face of the franchise, and not much else going in the passing game. Corey Davis is a bit smaller than Fitz, but I think they have similar games, and he could fill a complementary role to John Brown well.
One might believe this a good spot for the first CB to come off the board, and it might well be. But the thing about this CB class is it's very strong, yet among the top 8 or so players available, it's not abundantly clear that any one is significantly better than the others. The most likely candidate for that would have been Sidney Jones if not for his serious Achilles injury. Marshon Lattimore is likely next up, but there are concerns about his ability to stay healthy. Other candidates are Quincy Wilson, Marlon Humphrey, Gareon Conley, Kevin King, or Adoree Jackson - but in addition to the likelihood of one or more of these guys being available for the Cardinals in round 2, it's also not obviously clear that these players will end up being better than second tier CBs like Jalen Tabor, Cordrea Tankersley, Tre'Davious White, or Cameron Sutton. I include this long explanation here not just to explain the Cardinals decision to go with Mike Williams here, but to illustrate the unique CB situation in this draft that I think will affect numerous teams in their decision as to when to draft a CB. I think more teams will be willing to wait until round 2 for a CB than would in a more typical draft class.
The Cardinals land their quarterback of the future. They can groom Mahomes behind Carson Palmer for a year and then let Mahomes take over in the desert. <br> <br>
Mahomes played in a gimmick offense that won't translate to the NFL, but he has a powerful arm and flashed accuracy and mobility. He is also a real gunslinger who wants the ball in his hands and is a confident play-maker who is a hard worker off the field. Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes in 2016 for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He notched 12 rushing touchdowns, too. In 2015, Mahomes completed 64 percent for 4,653 yards with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Some team sources are intrigued by Mahomes, while others are skeptics. <br> <br>
Mahomes (6-2, 225) is tremendous at improvising and making big plays when things break down. He clearly has the arm to make any throw in the NFL, plus has good mobility to throw on the run. Mahomes is going to need to improve his decision-making as he threw across the field too much at Texas Tech. He will need to do a lot of development on his footwork as well. Working under center and calling plays in the huddle will be other big jumps for Mahomes coming from the Red Raiders' offense. Thus, he has a good skill set with some grittiness as a player, but he is a project for the NFL.
The Cardinals know that Carson Palmer's career is on borrowed time. Kizer has a great skill set for Bruce Arians to develop. <br> <br>
Of the quarterback prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, Kizer has the best skill set with the most upside. The 6-foot-4, 233-pounder has a strong arm that can make all the throws for the NFL. He has also flashed superb accuracy and an ability to make accurate touch passes downfield to beat good coverage in tight windows. Kizer can also make beautiful passes in the face of a pass rush. Additionally, he has the mobility to buy time for his receivers, bail out his offensive line, and pick up yards with his feet. The big problem for Kizer is consistency as he is a streaky passer and player. He also had issues late in games with critical mistakes in crunch time, so his decision-making needs to improve. <br> <br>
In 2016, Kizer completed 59 percent of his passes for 2,925 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns. His completion percentage was thrown off by playing a game in the midst of Hurricane Matthew and his receivers consistently dropping well thrown passes. He also was hurt by losing his No.1 receiver (Will Fuller), left tackle (Ronnie Stanley), center (Nick Martin), and running back (C.J. Prosise) to the NFL. In 2015, Kizer completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,884 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He picked up 520 yards with 10 scores on the ground.
Arizona needs an upgrade in the middle of their defense and have taken players with off the field issues in recent years like Robert Nkemdiche and Tyrann Mathieu. The Cardinals let Kevin Minter leave in free agency, and Foster is a plug-and-play starter.
In 2016, Foster amassed 115 tackles with 13 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two passes broken up. The 6-foot, 229-pounder came on strong late in the 2015 season for Alabama and had the game of his life in the National Championship against Clemson. He totaled 73 tackles with eight for a loss, two sacks and nine passes batted for the year. The light looked like it clicked on for Foster toward the end of the 2015 season as he was suddenly a different player. He carried that over into his senior year, when he was a physical force. Foster is a fast, athletic linebacker who can go sideline-to-sideline while also dishing out punishing hits when he gets there.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Reuben Foster Going to Cardinals
Rd. 1, Pk. 13
Haason Reddick, OLB
This is exactly where I had Haason Reddick, so I think the value is about right. I was tipped off here though, as I had Reddick slotted earlier beforehand (No. 20 to the Broncos), which is where I thought he should've gone. Reddick is a very talented player, so he'll help the Cardinals, who are desperate for linebacker help. Reddick will fill a huge need for sure. However, with Malik Hooker, Jonathan Allen and O.J. Howard still on the board, I would've thought Arizona would have gone after one of them. Still, I can't blame them for choosing Reddick, who should be a very good player for them.
Rd. 2, Pk. 4
Budda Baker, S
The Cardinals surrendered two fourths (one this year, one next year) and they swapped picks late to move up to this spot. Many thought the Cardinals would do that to trade up for a quarterback, but I don't think I would've liked that as much. Budda Baker makes more sense to replace Tony Jefferson. Baker is very talented, and I'm not sure he could've lasted to Arizona even though I had it that way in my mock draft. The thing is, there are a number of talented safeties available, so the Cardinals could've been more patient to fill this need.
Rd. 3, Pk. 34
Chad Williams, WR
The Cardinals have taken chances on troubled players, and they're doing that once again here. Chad Williams was arrested for firearm and marijuana possession a year ago. Thus, talent level is not the concern. It's definitely a risk, but it could pay off, and Arizona is desperate for a receiver. Besides, the Cardinals moved down 21 spots to take Williams, so that helps this grade a bit.
Rd. 4, Pk. 8
Dorian Johnson, G
Dorian Johnson would've been a likely second-round pick had he not dealt with any injury concerns. Unfortunately, he has a liver issue, and some teams had him off the board as a result. However, he's very much worth the risk in the fourth round. Arizona will have a solid starter if Johnson can stay on the field.
Rd. 5, Pk. 13
Will Holden, OT
Another team was set to take Will Holden several picks later than this in the fifth round, so the value is certainly right. The Vanderbilt blocker has done well in pass protection, but he's not athletic, so he could be stuck at right tackle. Still, the Cardinals needed depth up front, and Holden won't embarrass himself if he has to start.
Rd. 5, Pk. 35
T.J. Logan, RB
This pick makes a lot of sense, as the Cardinals needed some insurance behind David Johnson. T.J. Logan could've been chosen a round earlier, so it's not a surprise that Arizona was able to obtain value with the sure-handed Logan, who ran a 4.37 40 at the combine.
Rd. 6, Pk. 24
Johnathan Ford, FS
Johnathan Ford is still relatively new to playing safety, as he's a former running back. However, he performed well at Auburn and then went on to post strong testing numbers. Ford was at his best on special teams in Auburn, so the Cardinals undoubtedly selected him so that he could help them in that regard. I had him off the board 26 selections earlier than this, so there's some value.