I mentioned earlier that the Colts were in great position because plenty of teams could move up for a quarterback. The Cardinals are one such candidate, as they've missed out on an opportunity to replace Carson Palmer in this mock draft. That said, Josh Allen could fall to them after struggling against legitimate competition early in the season. I'm not sure I'm ready to drop him out of the first round just yet, but he could be available for Arizona in the teens.
Pick change; previously Calvin Ridley, WR
Rd. 2, Pk. 14
John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
If the Cardinals have learned anything this season, it's that they need a capable backup behind David Johnson.
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.
The Cardinals could use more receivers considering Michael Floyd was released and Larry Fitzgerald is aging. Given that the team will be starting a new quarterback before too long, here's a play-maker for that signal-caller. <br> <br>
In 2016, Ridley made 72 catches for 769 yards with seven touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder had a tremendous freshman season for the Crimson Tide as their No. 1 receiver. As a replacement for Amari Cooper, Ridley was very effective with 89 receptions for 1,045 yards with seven touchdowns. He finished the 2015 season with impressive performances against Florida and Michigan State to help push Alabama to the National Championship. Ridley has size, speed and a ton of upside for the NFL. <br> <br>
<u> <i> Pick change; previously Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida </i> </u>
Full disclosure I think this team may be battling for the top selection in my opinion. This team has too much stock in Palmer getting back to what he was two years ago, but at his age I doubt that is possible. Their defense is also not as good as before losing Calais Campbell and being forced to start Justin Bethel across from Patrick Peterson. I also, think this is Bruce Arians last year at head coach with his age and health issues.
If they do pick here selecting the fourth best quarterback may be their best option. Whether that is Rudolph, Lamar Jackson, Luke Falk, Jarrett Stidham, Nick Fitzgerald, or my dark horse Tanner Lee of Nebraska. At the moment I think if Rudolph puts in a good year he can see a Pat Mahomes type rise.
The Cardinals will be in a tough situation for years to come. They are going to be losing Fitzgerald, they already lost Malcom Floyd. They will be losing Carson Palmer, and their OL is aging. The Cardinals need to grab a potential Franchise QB, and hope that they can pick up some receivers and offensive lineman in the free agency.
The Cardinals grab their eventual replacement for Carson Palmer. <br> <br>
Litton has played well over his first two seasons in college football. As a sophomore, he completed 62 percent of his pass for 2,612 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In 2015, he completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,605 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The 6-foot-6, 223-pound Litton is a tall quarterback who could use more weight on his frame.
I think this is the season where the floor completely drops on Carson Palmer's career after a few regressing seasons. If that happens they may just tank to land a top quarterback to reload on offense. They kind of have to do that with the Seahawks in their division going nowhere, the Rams who seem to have an upswing in store for them, and the 49ers with a smart front office looking for a quick turn around. The Cards need to do the same to stay relevant. Their defense boosts a good corner and decent pass rush, but to me they have been a bit over hyped and not capable of pulling their poor offense to wins. Rosen has the biggest arm out of the top 3 quarterbacks, but his size and arrogance worries me. If Bruce Arians does not retire after this season it would be a great pairing since he can break Rosen of his poor attitude while also giving him some of the best teaching a quarterback can get from a coach in this league.
Last Weeks Selection: Lamar Jackson QB Louisville at Pick # 22