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The Cardinals made some major moves last year that saw them get off to a hot 8-0 start. Kliff Kingsbury showed he could coach and young signal caller Kyler Murray showed he could be an MVP candidate.
They have suffered some losses this off-season with Chandler Jones and Christian Kirk leaving. The draft is their chance to reload an already loaded young team and make some noise. Here is how Arizona could play their cards on draft day:
Round 1, Pick 23: Roger McCreary, CB, Auburn
The Cardinals have to improve on their already potent defense and youth has been a great blue print for them.
Following that trend they should target a corner to bolster their secondary on the boundaries. McCreary is one of those tenacious corners that plays a physical brand of football. He is a hands on defender that bullies opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage to re-route them. Even when he doesn’t get his hands on the ball, he makes sure the receiver doesn’t catch it either.
Arizona has lacked a lock down corner since Patrick Peterson left and they could get one here.
Round 2, Pick 23: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
Round 3, Pick 23: Nick Muse, TE, South Carolina
The depth of this draft works in a lot of teams favor and day two may produce some pro bowlers this year. Arizona should look to be the beneficiaries of said depth and replenish their offense.
After losing Christian Kirk and not having a lot of depth at the tight end position, targeting those spots makes the most sense.
Christian Watson is a good big bodied receiver with speed that Kliff Kingsbury could use in some interesting ways. A.J. Green is still on the roster, so Watson could work out of the slot and next year become the #2 receiver.
Muse is a solid tight end prospect with soft hands and feel on routes to work zones. He isn’t a supreme athlete, but he is deceptive in and out of his breaks and finds way to get open. The former Gamecock is a capable blocker as well and could open holes in the run game.
Arizona could come out of day two with multiple pieces that bolster their already potent offensive attack.
Round 6, Pick 22: Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma
Round 6, Pick 36: Juanyeh Thomas, DB, Georgia Tech
Round 7, Pick 23: Matt Henningsen, Edge, Wisconsin
Round 7, Pick 35: J’Atyre Carter, OL, Southern A&M
Round 7, Pick 36: Matthew Butler, DL, Tennessee
The last day of the draft is going to be very important for the Cards. They have holes in their offense and some depth issues that will need to be addressed but don’t possess a pick in the first two rounds of day three. They should definitely look to fill those spots with players that can make the team and not just camp bodies.
Players like Brooks, Thomas and Henningsen all play positions that are areas of need for the Cardinals.
Brooks is a shifty running back with break away speed. He can also be a factor in the pass game which makes him more valuable. He would be a solid backup to incumbent starter James Conner.
Thomas is a converted cornerback that projects as a safety at the NFL level. He can cover slot receivers or play deep center field, which would be a compliment to star safety Budda Baker. His versatility can be a blessing and a curse as he is a tweener who doesn’t possess the size you want in a safety or the speed you need as a corner.
Henningsen is an edge rusher with a nasty streak to his style of play. He plays with good strength and leverage at the line of scrimmage. With J.J. Watt being a former Wisconsin Badger, Henningsen would have a Hall of Fame mentor already on the team.
Carter and Butler are depth players for the offensive and defensive lines. With Arizona’s injury luck down the stretch, depth is a need they should look to fill.
Arizona has a chance to make some moves that can move the needle this draft. As loaded as the NFC West is, a strong draft would allow them to compete for the top spot.