Arizona Cardinals Post Free Agency 2022 Seven Round Mock Draftby Mike Fanelli April 15, 2022 0 comments
The Arizona Cardinals have been quiet this offseason. Well, other than the Kyler Murray contract extension drama. Arizona lost two critical starters in free agency after Chandler Jones signed with the Las Vegas Raiders and Christian Kirk with the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, they were able to re-sign Zach Ertz to a three-year deal after trading for him last year. Unfortunately, the Cardinals have a few critical spots on their roster that need to be addressed in the draft. Without a fourth or fifth-round pick, the Cardinals will need to hit on some of their five sixth or seventh-round selections in the 2022 NFL Draft.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Team Mock Drafts.
Round 1, Pick 23: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
While the Cardinals didn’t lose a cornerback in free agency, this is arguably their top need heading into the draft. Byron Murphy is one of the more underrated cornerbacks in the NFL, but he is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Marco Wilson was a steal in the fourth round last year, but the depth at cornerback is very thin. While Ahmad Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr. have been the talk of the cornerback class, McDuffie is right there with them. He is very fluid and quick in coverage while remaining aggressive in the running game. With so many elite wide receivers in the NFC West, the Cardinals must add a cornerback or two in the draft.
For more on McDuffie, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 2, Pick 55: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
When the Jaguars offered Kirk a contract worth up to $84 million, the Cardinals were wise to let him walk in free agency. However, they haven’t signed anyone to replace him. Meanwhile, re-signing A.J. Green shouldn’t keep them from adding another wide receiver early in the draft as he signed only a one-year deal. Furthermore, DeAndre Hopkins is coming off an injury-plagued season and will turn 30 years old in June. Pickens would likely be a first-round pick if not for a limited final year at Georgia due to a torn ACL. He would give the Cardinals a plug-and-play role player as a rookie with the upside to replace Hopkins as the top guy in a year or two.
For more on Pickens, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 3, Pick 87: Drake Jackson, EDGE, USC
If one of those top-five edge rushers slides to the Cardinals in the first round, expect Arizona to grab them. However, that is unlikely, and the Cardinals don’t have to panic, thanks to the depth this year. Now that Jones is a Raider, Devon Kennard and Markus Golden are the projected starting edge rushers for 2022. While that’s a solid duo, both are entering the final year of their contracts. Jackson struggles in the run game, but he has the raw tool to develop into a star pass rusher. He has a quick get-off and can bend around offensive tackles with ease. Jackson will likely play a rotational role as a rookie but can replace one of the veterans as a full-time starter in 2023.
For more on Jackson, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 6, Pick 201: Chris Paul, iOL, Tulsa
Fans should expect the Cardinals to make a draft day trade as waiting 114 selections between picks isn’t ideal. However, there are no trades in this mock draft. Arizona has their starting offensive line set for next season after signing Will Hernandez in free agency. But, the depth is very thin, especially in the interior spots. Paul was a four-year starter for Tulsa. He started two years at guard and two at tackle. While many believe he is best suited to play guard in the NFL, Paul could kick out to tackle in a pinch. Adding an experienced and versatile player like Paul on day three is a smart move for Arizona.
Round 6, Pick 215: Obinna Eze, OT, TCU
The Cardinals haven’t invested many draft picks on the offensive line lately, but that needs to change this year. D.J. Humphries is entering the final year of his contract and could cash in on the open market next offseason. Meanwhile, Eze is a massive offensive tackle, coming in at just over 6’6” and 325 pounds. He has started 25 consecutive games and gotten better in every game. More importantly, he has the length and reach to slow down pass rushers before they can get into their moves. While he is a developmental prospect, Eze could become a critical part of the offensive line in a year or two and a possible replacement for Humphries.
Round 7, Pick 244: Smoke Monday, SAF, Auburn
Budda Baker is one of the best safeties in the NFL. Deionte Thompson and Jalen Thompson are solid players next to him in the secondary. However, both are entering the final year of their rookie contracts, and the depth at safety is thin. Meanwhile, Monday played in several spots on Auburn’s defense. While he has experience lining up all over the field, Monday’s best role is in the box as a dime linebacker. He rarely misses tackles in confined areas and can cover tight ends in one-on-one situations. Monday might never become a full-time starter, but he will have a long NFL career as a rotational safety and key special teams player.
For more on Monday, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 7, Pick 256: Ty Chandler, RB, North Carolina
Last year, James Conner and Chase Edmonds provided the Cardinals with a dangerous 1-2 punch at running back. However, the Cardinals re-signed Conner and let Edmonds leave in free agency. While they are high on Eno Benjamin, he has 40 touches in his career, all coming last season. Thankfully, the running back class is extremely deep this year, and the Cardinals can find a quality player late in the draft. Chandler isn’t an elite back and is not in the same tier as Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker, or Isaiah Spiller. However, he is capable of filling the Edmonds’ role from last season. Chandler’s biggest weakness is at the goal line. Thankfully, that is Conner’s biggest strength. Getting Chandler this late in the draft is a steal.
For more on Chandler, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 7, Pick 257: Mykael Wright, CB, Oregon
Even after using their first-round pick on McDuffie, the Cardinals should draft a cornerback with one of their later picks. While some will point to the newly signed Jeff Gladney, the former first-round pick didn’t play last season and had only three passed defended as a rookie. Signing Gladney should be considered a lottery ticket. Wright should be a nickel cornerback in the NFL given his lighter frame. However, despite weighing only 173 pounds at the combine, Wright is a capable tackler in the running game. Despite being a very late pick, Wright would play meaningful snaps as a rookie.
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