The Arizona Cardinals will be the most over-promoted team of the 2020 season. Frankly, I’m not going to do anything to slow that momentum train down. I love the Cardinals this year: Kyler Murray has the raw talent to become yet another year two breakout. Arizona managed the fleece of the decade by trading a broken down David Johnson for the best receiver in the league. I am truly excited to do a Cardinals mock draft to smooth out their rough edges.
The Cardinals’ current needs can be broken into two categories: Left tackle and defensive line. A team with a QB as elusive as Kyler Murray shouldn’t be 7th-worst in sacks allowed per game, but they were. On the other side, their defense not only needs to step up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks but also to stop up opposing rushers. Arizona was in the bottom 10 in terms of rushing yards allowed per game in 2019.
With those key areas in mind, let’s approach an Arizona Cardinals mock draft, using the excellent tool provided by thedraftnetwork.com. As always, I’m not mocking the last 2 rounds because that info is utterly useless to you.
2020 Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft
Round 1, Pick 8: Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
Tristan Wirfs was already taken, which put the debate between Wills, Mekhi Becton, and Andrew Thomas. While Becton and Thomas might have a higher upside given time to develop, Wills is clearly the most ready-to-start left tackle of the group. The Cardinals need their offense to fire straight out of the gate. Tua’s blindside protector should give them the best opportunity to do so.
Round 3, Pick 72: Curtis Weaver, DL, Boise State
The Cardinals would probably best benefit from grabbing Weaver over the other edge rushers available, here. A top 10 prospect at his position, Weaver has good pass rushing and decent run-stopping ability, which is why he’s the ideal choice.
Round 4, Pick 114: Kenny Willekes, DL, Michigan State
Another versatile edge rusher with a high floor. Willekes has also shown the ability to stop the run. This is good because the interior defensive linemen just haven’t fallen in this Cardinals mock draft. The Cards showed some growing pains in switching to a 4-3 defense, last year. Willekes extensive 4-3 experience could spark some locker-room leadership that promotes cohesion.
Round 4, Pick 131: Leki Fotu, DL, Utah
This is what the Cardinals were hoping for on day 3: A 6-foot-5, 337-pound body that will slow down opposing rushing games simply by existing. He’s got some issues with technique, but it’s day 3: Take the player with insane raw strength and hope your coaching staff can fix them.
That’s every pick for the Cardinals in the first 5 rounds. Honestly, as long as their coaching staff doesn’t get some wild bug and go off the rails, they should be able to follow the gameplan sculpted above: There will be a great left tackle available when they make their 8th overall pick, some top 15 edge rushers will be there in round 3, and there should still be an enormous interior defensive lineman around in round 4. This plan gives the Cardinals the best chance at going worst-to-first in the competitive NFC West.
For more 2020 draft coverage, check out these links. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for our annual DraftJam, where we make quality jokes instantly after each first-round pick.
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[Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marianne_oleary/4544485891]