Mason Thompson | February 24th, 2020
The first year of the Kliff Kingsbury/Kyler Murray experience went about as well as you could expect. There were some flashes but there was an abundance of growing pains as well. The Cardinals were dreadful on defense and their offensive line was still abysmal. The team has the eighth pick in the first round and six picks overall. The team still has a lot of work to do before being considered a contender in potentially the toughest division in the league.
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I have the Cardinals premier needs listed as Offensive Tackle, Interior Offensive Line, and Interior Defensive Line. This could be Steve Keim’s last shot at keeping his job.
To help with this mock, I used the Fanspeak Mock Draft Simulator.
Round 1, Pick 8: Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
I’ve been a big advocate in going offensive tackle no matter what for the Cardinals in this slot but the team just signed D.J. Humphries to a new contract. There is a chance that Brown slides to Arizona here at eight. Not only is he an elite talent in this draft, but he also fills a desperate need for the Cardinals. Brown can play on the interior but he can also rush the passer. His best trait is his explosiveness and might be the “safest” pick in the draft.
Round 2, Pick 40: Lloyd Cushenberry III, IOL, LSU
The Cardinals have needs all across their offensive line, even with the Humphries extension. The center spot is up for grabs as A.Q. Shipley is scheduled to be a free agent or he might retire. Mason Cole was supposed to take this spot a few years ago and hasn’t developed the way the team thought he would. His best trait might be his flexibility as he always seems to be lower than his opponent. This fills another major need for Arizona.
LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry had a really good practice yesterday. His hands are always in tight. One of the few wins for anyone vs Javon Kinlaw. pic.twitter.com/uPnPEhex2Y— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 22, 2020
Round 3, Pick 72: Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
This wasn’t one of the premier needs I had listed but it could be depending on what the team decides to do with Patrick Peterson. They could decide to cut or trade him or allow him to play the final year on his deal. I’m higher on Igbinoghene than most and could see him creep his way into the top half of the second round. He has great acceleration and enough fluidity to stay with different angles that receivers throw at him. He is a converted receiver who also ran track for Auburn.
4th Round, Pick 111: Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
Charles Clay is a free agent and the Cardinals have a bunch of bodies left after him. Okwuegbunam had a down year without Drew Lock this year but still had a decent year. He was in the conversation of being a day two pick last year but elected to return to school. He isn’t that explosive but offers a big target for Murray. He’s best suited to run seams up the middle of the field and will leap over defensive backs to get the ball. He needs to develop as a blocker.
The tackle class is loaded this year. The Cardinals could take one earlier than this but I couldn’t pass up Brown in the first. Throckmorton is a solid prospect who protected Justin Herbert at Oregon. He’s powerful and always keeps his head on a swivel looking for people to block in pass protection. He could potentially move inside to guard.
Round 7, Pick 222: Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest
I’m high on Strnad. I keep seeing his placement all over the place from the third round to undrafted. He developed nicely at Wake Forest and laid some booming hits during his time there. He is great in zone coverage which the league is looking for. He sometimes misses tackles but is sound in every other aspect of his game. The Cardinals don’t know what to do with Haason Reddick and Strnad could play the role he was supposed to play.
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