Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft 3.0: Two trades and a defensive line get a huge boost

the 2022 NFL Draft is only a day away and the Arizona Cardinals have many needs to solve.

AJ Green was re-signed to a one-year deal last week, which could make the catcher less important for Arizona. The cornerback room is already young with Byron Murphy, Marco Wilson and free agent signing Jeff Gladney.

This draft class is filled with talented rushers, linebackers, and EDGE running backs.

It’s hard to predict which way the Cardinals will go with their first pick. Arizona is believed to be very interested in Penn State’s Jahan Dotson and Vance Joseph attended Pro Day in Houston to get a closer look at Logan Hall. Steve Keim said during press conference last week that their needs include EDGE rusher, wide receiver and cornerback.

He said Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks is a “great body who does a terrific job with his catching radius” and Purdue pass thrower George Karlaftis “is a guy who doesn’t It doesn’t have the bells and whistles in terms of cornering and peaking ability, but…you get a man who’s grown up and he loves the game.”

Without further ado, here is my final draft of the season:

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Round 1 (19): Jordan Davis – Nose Tackle, Georgia (of Saints in False Trade)

Mock Trade (trade up): Cardinals 22 first-round pick (#23) & Saints 22 third-round pick (19) & Saints 22 fifth-round pick (#161)

While I would love nothing more than to see the Cardinals trade for a potential top receiver, this could be another draft where Steve Keim again invests heavily in defense. In three of the Cardinals’ last four losses in the 2021 regular season, running backs Craig Reynolds, Jonathan Taylor and Rashaad Penny have rushed for over 100 yards against Arizona. Their 4.6 yards per carry allowed on defense was tied for fifth most in the 2021 season.

Jordan Davis, who is considered a generational type talent for a man of his size (6’6” 341lbs) and speed (4.78 40), falls far enough for the Cardinals to trade for him. He might not offer much as a pass thrower, but he’s a rock wall on that defensive line who will consistently attract double teams. None of the moves GM Steve Keim has made this offseason have backed up their defensive woes from last year. That changes here with this pick as their run defense improves a lot with Davis.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOVEMBER 20 Iowa State at Oklahoma

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Round 2 (55): Nik Bonitto – EDGE, Oklahoma

The 22-year-old from Oklahoma is one of the fastest pass rushers in the upcoming draft, sprinting 4.54 for 40 yards at the NFL Combine. His exceptional athleticism has not only made him a dangerous pass thrower (109 pressures since 2019), but also a versatile linebacker with plenty of college-level coverage duties. That versatility and athletic ability is exactly what Vance Joseph covets in an outside linebacker he hasn’t had since Haason Reddick in 2020.

Speaking of Reddick, he and Bonitto are very similar players. Both are considered undersized at their positions, but make up for the flurry and speed to get past the quarterback and as coverage. He finished his college career with 118 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 33 tackles for loss, and one interception.

Purdue vs. Nebraska

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Round 3 (94): David Bell – wide receiver, Purdue (from Chiefs in mock trade)

Mock Trade (Down Trade): Cardinals 22 third-round pick (#87) and ’22 fifth-round pick (from Saints in first mock trade) for Chiefs ’22 third-round pick (# 94) and ’22 fourth-round pick (#121)

The common misconception when it comes to receivers is that if they lack speed or run a bad 40, they won’t make it in the NFL. Yet time and time again receivers have proven this to be wrong. DeAndre Hopkins ran a 4.57 sprint for 40 yards, but is a five-time Pro Bowler and is considered by many to be the NFL’s best receiver. The same goes for Cooper Kupp of the Rams, who ran a 4.62 40 at the Combine NFL and broke a record superbowl Championship season with 145 receptions, 1,947 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

Purdue’s David Bell has never been known for his speed, but is coming off a year where he had 93 receptions, 1,286 receiving yards and six touchdowns in a pretty good Big Ten conference. He’s a tall receiver (6’2” 212lbs) who has had success on the outside and in the slot. Bell just turned 21 in December and is reportedly reuniting with former Purdue teammate Rondale Moore in Arizona.

Colorado vs. ASU

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Round 4 (121): Rachaad White – Running Back, Arizona State (from Chiefs in mock trade)

With Chase Edmonds signing with the Miami Dolphins, the Cardinals could be looking for a No. 2 running back in the 2022 draft. And there’s no indication they’ve committed to Eno Benjamin or Jonathan Ward as the primary running back behind James Conner. It was previously reported that Arizona met Jerome Ford of Cincinnati, Brian Robinson Jr of Alabama and Pierre Strong Jr of South Dakota State. With the fourth-round selection acquired from the Chiefs in a fake trade, Arizona fills the void left by Chase with the selection of Arizona State alumnus Rachaad White.

“It’s always nice to be able to try and get local talent,” Keim said during his press conference Last week. “Writing by Eno [Benjamin] It was fun because having a guy who is local and all the ASU fans in the valley can kind of rally around and support him.

White was impressive in his only year as a starter as a running back and wide receiver out of the backfield with 1,000 rushing yards, 456 receiving yards on 43 receptions and scoring 16 total touchdowns. It has the straight-line speed (4.48 40) to take it home anytime.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 North Carolina at Pitt

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Round 6 (201): Joshua Ezeudu – Guard, North Carolina

Joshua Ezeudu has the positional versatility teams will covet with his experience as both a starting left guard and tackle with the North Carolina Tarheels. He has projectable traits as he necessarily possesses the athleticism and strength to be an eventual starting guard in the NFL. A big reason Ezeudu fits in with the Cardinals is the fact that he played in a fast, fast offense at the college level. And we know how much Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray love not snuggling up.

Justin Pugh is in the last year of his contract and the Cardinals will have to replace him in 2023 if he is not extended. Ezeudu would be a good developmental prospect to draft in the sixth round.

NCAA Football: Nevada at Fresno State

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Round 6 (215): DaRon Bland – Cornerback, Fresno State (compensatory)

As for the overall skill for the position, you have to like what you see of him, especially so late in the draft. He played his first three years at Sacramento State before joining Fresno State in 2021. Bland has very good athletic traits and great makeup speed. He has flowing hips and just plays with a lot of effort. At 6 feet and 197 pounds, he’s also the size for the job.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

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Round 7 (244): Juanyeh Thomas – Safety, Georgia Technology

Juanyeh may lack the instincts and covering skills to excel on defense, but plays physically and is best suited to play in the box near the line of scrimmage as a running defender. He flashed that in the East-West Shrine Bowl earlier this year and might be best suited as a male linebacker like what Deone Bucannon was for the Cardinals in the Bruce Arians era if given the opportunity. The seventh round is a good place to add players who can contribute special teams coverage units and Thomas would certainly provide that skill as a standing shooter at 6-foot-1,212.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 18 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl – Oregon State vs. Utah State

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Round 7 (256): Deven Thompkins – Wide Receiver, Utah State (compensatory)

From a pure production standpoint, Thompkins caught my eye. He had 102 receptions, 1,704 yards and 10 touchdowns at Utah State last year. He’s a very undersized receiver weighing in at 5-foot-7,167 pounds, but ran a blazing 4.44 40-yard dash on his Pro day.

Colorado vs. Colorado State

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Round 7 (257): Ryan Stonehouse – Punter, Colorado State (compensatory)

Long story short, Andy Lee is not getting any younger with his 40th birthday in August. Stonehouse has averaged 47.8 yards per punt since 2017, which is the highest in NCAA history. Matt Araiza is getting nearly all the attention as the top bettor in the 2022 NFL Draft, but Stonehouse deserves some recognition as well.

Here is a shorter version (* = acquired via a fictitious exchange):

Round 1 (19)*: Jordan Davis – NT, Georgia (of the Saints)
Round 2 (55): Nik Bonitto – EDGE, Oklahoma
Round 3 (94)*: David Bell – WR, Purdue (from the Chiefs)
Round 4 (121)*: Rachaad White – RB, Arizona State (from the Chiefs)
Round 6 (201): Joshua Ezeudu – JO, North Carolina
Round 6 (215): DaRon Bland – CB, Fresno State (compensatory)
Round 7 (244): Juanyeh Thomas – S, Georgia Tech
Round 7 (256): Deven Thompkins – WR, Utah State (compensatory)
Round 7 (255): Ryan Stonehouse – P, Colorado State (compensatory)

“With the 23rd pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals select _________________”

Let’s have fun ! Enjoy the NFL Draft!

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