Arizona Cardinals 2021 NFL Draft Recapby Charlie Parent May 6, 2021 0 comments
The Arizona Cardinals came into this year’s draft with some work to do. With one of the weaker 2020 draft classes, the Cardinals looked to get some major talent this year to push them into the playoffs. Arizona came into this draft with some holes to fill, and they did just that. However, it was tricky to pick up blue-chip talent as they only had two picks in the first three rounds. The Cardinals were also pretty busy in the trade market, striking a big day three deal to move up and grab Marco Wilson in the fourth round. Arizona got a lot of talent from this draft, but how good was this class as a whole? Let’s get into it.
Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.
Best Pick: Zaven Collins (Round 1, Pick 16)
On the Thursday of the first round, the Cardinals had a leak. Someone in the organization told the media that Arizona would be selecting Collins and they did just that hours later. Even with any sort of leaks, this was still a really good pick for the Cardinals. With the departure of Haason Reddick this offseason, Arizona was in desperate need of another 3-4 outside linebacker to rush the passer. Collins fits this description to a tee. He has experience rushing the passer well but has also shown great coverage ability and athleticism in space. He should be able to plug into play right away. Cardinals fans should be thrilled with this pick.
For more on Collins, check out our scouting report here.
Worst Pick: Rondale Moore (Round 2, Pick 49)
Out of the 32 places that Moore could’ve landed in, Arizona could be one of the best for him. He’s really a true gadget player now and Kliff Kingsbury will be able to use him as such. However, taking a gadget player in the second round, especially with a lack of picks in the first two days, is not very wise. With so much talent still on the board at pick 49, you wish they would have addressed a bigger need like cornerback or even offensive line. With all this being said, it will be really fun watching Moore go to work in Arizona’s air raid system.
For more on Moore, check out our scouting report here.
Sleeper Pick: Marco Wilson (Round 4, Pick 136)
Wilson going in the fourth round was a bit questionable at first. After you think about the pick, however, it’s a really good one. Wilson is a terrible cornerback, he can’t play there in the NFL and the Cardinals don’t intend to use him at his natural spot. We’ve heard that they made this selection in hopes that Wilson will play safety for them. The best explanation for this would be his athleticism.
Wilson scored a 9.99 on the raw athletic score chart after his pro day. This is pretty much the highest the scoring goes and there’s no doubt that Wilson is a freak athlete on the field. A move to safety will allow Wilson to show off this athleticism a lot better than it would at cornerback and he’s already super experienced in coming down to help the run and in blitzes. Wilson’s raw potential can lead to him blossoming here but it’s a bit of a boom or bust selection.
For more on Wilson, check out our scouting report here.
The Cardinals had an overall solid draft. The Moore pick wasn’t the best in the world, but it wasn’t the worst by any means. Getting Collins in the first was really nice for their needs and he should be able to develop really nicely. The Cardinals also got some very good players in the later rounds. James Wiggins, Tay Gowan, and Victor Dimukeje are all serious steals for being picked in the sixth round or later. These three were all candidates for the sleeper pick and they should all make the 53-man roster pretty easily. Arizona’s selections in the later rounds really improve their grade and it was an all-around impressive draft, especially compared to last year’s.
Overall Grade: B+