As a fan of any sporting team, there comes a time when you must take a step back and appreciate that there are thousands of people around you whose views hold as much bearing as yours.
It wasn’t until I sat down to formulate another mock draft that this realization well and truly hit me. I came to the realization that the views of the fanbase as a whole are far more powerful than the views of myself as an individual.
So, I set out to create a community mock draft of sorts, and after two rounds of nominations and polls, I am finally ready to present to you the Arizona Cardinals’ community mock draft for the 2012 NFL draft.
Just quickly before I begin, I just wanted to thank each and every one of you who nominated and voted for players, it is you who made all this possible.
The first-round pick was a tale of four candidates; throughout the process Michael Floyd, David DeCastro, Melvin Ingram and Riley Reiff quickly established themselves as the favored selections for the Cardinals’ first-round pick.
However, it was Michael Floyd who came out as the victor, totaling 28.2 percent of all votes and with good reason too.
In the eyes of many, Floyd has established himself as one of (if not the) best receivers entering the 2012 NFL draft. He has the size, the speed, the hands, the awareness and the physicality to become a hugely successful wide receiver in the NFL, and one could only dream of watching him develop under the tutelage of Larry Fitzgerald.
With a threat like Floyd playing opposite Fitzgerald, it would undoubtedly add a dynamic edge to the Cardinals offense, and will also make the maturation processes of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton a whole lot easier.
Perhaps the only downside to this pick is that Floyd’s meteoric rise up the draft board since the combine may well mean that he is off the board by the time the Cardinals are on the clock. Though if he’s there, he will be a fine pick.
Alternate Pick: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford (26.2%)
When voting began for the third-round prospects, Bruce Irvin quickly established himself as the favorite, and held his place throughout the process (totaled 31.7 percent of votes).
Despite two impressive seasons at the West Virginia University, Irvin’s draft stock was largely discredited at the beginning of the draft process, but after an extraordinary combine performance, Irvin has well and truly established himself as one of the most dynamic pass-rushers in the entire draft.
Irvin is one of those players who was blessed with the ability to rush the quarterback, and his 22.5 sacks in college over the past two seasons is a true indication of this. His blistering pace and impressive array of block-shedding moves would make him a consistent sack threat for the Cardinals.
The knock on Irvin, however, is that he has rarely been deployed in coverage, and when he has, he has been largely lackluster. As a result, most teams will be hesitant on pulling the trigger on a player who will not be able to play all three downs.
If you’re Ray Horton though, Irvin is just the sort of player you want rushing the passer in the Cardinals’ 3-4 defensive scheme, and with the right coaching, he could well be molded into a true three-down player, and a darn good one at that.
Alternate Pick: Juron Criner, WR, Arizona (17.5%)
Whether it’s just because of his surname, or whether it’s because of his immense motor and versatility, Acho is a huge fan favorite amongst Cardinals fans, and boy did it show in the polls.
Acho alone racked up the single most votes amongst every player (irrespective of their projected round), and secured 55.3 percent of all votes amongst fourth-rounders.
The question though, is why is Acho so highly favored amongst Cardinals fans? After all, he isn’t quite a phenomenal athlete, and hasn’t quite put up gaudy numbers (albeit they are still impressive) throughout his time at Texas. So, what is it about Emmanuel Acho?
For starters, it’s all about his motor. The Acho family had made a name for themselves as hard workers throughout their tenure at the University of Texas, and that combination of drive and intelligence will be hugely valued by Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt.
Secondly, you have a player who will provide the Cardinals with some additional versatility defensively. Given the instinctive nature of Acho’s play, he is capable of playing inside in the 3-4, as well as outside in the 4-3, and as a result he gives Ray Horton the opportunity to add some scheme diversity into his defensive repertoire.
Acho may not be a day-one starter on defense, but he is exactly the type of player that the Cardinals will love having in the dressing room. Not to mention that he has the potential to be a very good special-teamer.
Alternate Pick: Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn (18.4%)
I can almost feel some of you cringing as I write this, because I just know that some of you will act unfavorably to this pick.
Personally, when I voted, Burfict wasn’t my pick, nor did I really consider him. That being said though, I am a firm believer in the fact that this kid could become a ferocious talent; I was just not sold on him being picked outside of the seventh round.
Based on raw talent, I can almost guarantee that Burfict will be the best player on the board at this stage, and I imagine that this explains the 31.4 percent of votes that he received.
Burfict is a fiery presence in the middle of the defense, and even before he delivers one of his ferocious blows, he is perhaps the most intimidating player in all of college football. He is great at stopping the run and in addition, is a fantastic pass-rusher on the inside.
Problem is though that Burfict is doing everything to put his talent to waste. It is rare for a game to go by where Burfict hasn’t been flagged multiple times for mindless infringements, and Burfict often struggled to stay in shape last season. Add to the mix a poor showing at the combine (both physically and in the interview room) and you have a player that could well go undrafted.
Though when it’s all said and done, he may well have too much talent to slip past each team in the later rounds, and Arizona would be one of the better destinations for him. He gets to stay in state, and stability surely wouldn’t be a bad thing for this young man. Plus, some high-character players and a high-character coaching staff will help keep him on the straight and narrow.
At pick 151 though, this might just be too big of a risk to take.
Alternate Pick: Omar Bolden, CB, Arizona State (13.6%)
Another fan favorite throughout many fanbases throughout the league, Levy Adcock is without a doubt one of the most underrated prospects in the entire draft.
You are looking at a kid who really doesn’t have a whole lot of faults in his game. He is a great run-blocker, is great against speed-rushers, stout against bull-rushers and above all has a great football IQ.
He has a tendency to lose leverage to bigger pass-rushers, and his footwork is still a little inconsistent, but aside from that, I’m not sure how you can really fault him.
Adcock didn’t concede a single sack in the 2010 season, which is hugely impressive, and he has been rewarded with appearances in the All Big-12 First Team over the past two seasons.
Adcock was relatively dominant in voting, accruing 28.3 percent of all votes, and these voters have selected a player who could well be starting at right tackle by the end of the preseason.
Alternate Pick: Nick Foles, QB, Arizona (13.7%)
Let me make it clear that I firmly believe that Ryan Broyles will be gone by this pick. At the time of drawing up the nominations, I (and assumedly those who nominated Broyles) were under the impression that we would not see Broyles work out at all prior to the draft.
A few days later though, he ran a small workout with scouts in which he was able to run a 4.57 40-yard dash, and perform a few basic routes. Considering that Broyles is nowhere near peak condition, it’s an impressive display, and I think scouts will like that they have seen some notable signs of progress made by Broyles.
On my board, that rockets him back up into the bottom of the fourth/top of the fifth, but the dreaded ACL tear is always a hesitation-inducing injury, and Broyles still could well slide.
If he so happens to slide, then Arizona will be picking up someone who could become one of the most deadly possession receivers in the league. Broyles is a great route runner, has a great football IQ and statistically has performed off the charts (he holds the NCAA record for most career receptions).
If he can restore his health and fitness after the injury, then Broyles has every opportunity to become a dangerous receiving option for Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.
Alternate Pick: Duke Ihenacho, SS, San Jose State (11.1%)
In my opinion, Cliff Harris essentially typifies a developmental prospect. He is a super talented kid who has fine instincts and displays great awareness, but he doesn’t quite have the ins and outs of the corner position covered.
He isn’t as fluid in his movements as he could be, and his backpedal is consistently critiqued. Plus, he is by no means a lights-out tackler. All that being said though, Harris has enough potential to develop each of these traits nicely, and could very well be a solid contributor at corner within a year or two.
However, Harris has also had some trouble outside of football, which resulted in his indefinite suspension from Oregon this past season. Just because he plays quick on the field, it doesn’t quite give him license to drive 118 mph on a suspended license.
Some may argue that boys will be boys, but Harris will need to convince a lot of general managers that he is ready to elevate his maturity levels for the NFL.
Though at this late stage in the draft, the reward certainly outweighs the risk, and that must seemingly have been the thought process for the 21.3 percent of voters who selected Harris to be the Cardinals’ pick in the seventh round.
Alternate Pick: Adrian Robinson, DE/OLB, Temple (12.6%)