Cardinals 2013 Mock Draft: Final 7-Round Predictions for Arizona
Like last year’s final mock, this will be a full seven rounds and consider all possibilities for each selection. That includes trades (be it up or down), drafting the best players available, drafting a needed position, etc.
The mock drafts started this year with everyone mocking a quarterback to Arizona at No. 7. We have seen Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson and Ryan Nassib all mocked to the Cardinals with their first pick at some point this offseason.
All the while, you saw none of that from me.
After that notion was debunked by Cards brass, everyone has since been on a Lane Johnson-to-Arizona kick, and they have not stopped. Once it started, seemingly everyone jumped on board with their latest mock showing Johnson as the flavor-of-the-month pick at No. 7.
Still, you saw none of that from me.
Am I right? Who knows? I personally do not see the third-best tackle—who very well might be a project—being taken over a proven commodity elsewhere. That thought seems to be with head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim, as well.
At last week's press conference (per Kent Somers of AZCentral.com), Keim stated the following about the No. 7 pick:
You have to be prepared to play those guys. I’ll give you a small anecdote from one of our draft meetings the other day. I won’t tell you who the player is. One of Bruce’s coaches had made a comment that we could potentially take this guy at seven but he may not be ready to play right away. I looked at Bruce and I asked him if he wanted to tell him or should I? If we draft this guy at seven, if he expects me to keep my job, he’s going to play.
And now, here are your final seven-round predictions for Arizona.
Round 1, Pick 7: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (6'2", 317 Pounds)
I have said this for months and I will say it again: Chance Warmack is the best football player in the 2013 NFL draft.
Being an offensive guard should have zero impact on where this man is selected. Just because a guard has not been taken as high as No. 7 since the New Orleans Saints took Jim Dombrowski No. 6 overall in 1986 does not mean Warmack is unworthy of the pick.
Times have changed over the past 20 years; no one will challenge that.
However, a big part of protecting Carson Palmer is what happens with the rest of the offense. That means running the ball successfully and giving him a clean pocket from where he can throw.
Warmack will step in and start for Bruce Arians immediately at right guard, upgrading the interior and providing that extra protection Palmer needs.
Left tackle Levi Brown returns from injury, and if he is anything like he was during the second half of the 2011 season and the early part of the 2012 preseason, the 29-year-old will man the blind side for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 38: D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina (5'10-1/2", 208)
D.J. Swearinger stands 5’10-1/2” and weighs 208 pounds. Is he as tall as your prototypical NFL safety? No, he is not.
But he plays bigger than he is by hitting harder than most and using his long arms to bat away passes and wrap up tacklers.
Swearinger is a natural leader who projects well as a strong safety at the next level. He can contribute early in rotation with Rashad Johnson or Yeremiah Bell—whoever will be playing strong safety the most.
He may be better in run support than in coverage, and that is why he projects to strong safety, playing within eight yards of the line of scrimmage.
Round 3, Pick 69: Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU (6'3-1/4", 262)
Historically, Round 3 has been good to NFL teams when adding pass-rushers.
Current players like Michael Johnson, Matt Shaughnessy, Charles Johnson, Ray McDonald and Justin Tuck all were drafted in the third round.
Sam Montgomery could be among the long list of productive pass-rushers from the round a few years down the road. He can play with a hand in the dirt or standing up, which is just the kind of player new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles needs.
He is more than a pass-rusher, however. Montgomery is good in the run game and can be an adequate cover man.
Playing in rotation early is probable for Montgomery, and his ability to outmuscle tight ends and tackles is the reason.
Round 4, Pick 103: Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin (6'3-1/2", 312)
Longtime Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein tore the MCL in his left knee toward the end of the 2012 season. Until that time, he had been as durable as any center in the league, but at age 29 and entering his seventh NFL season, he may start to break down sooner or later.
In fact, Sendlein is just the 11th undrafted free-agent center in league history to start at least 70 games during his first six seasons.
To say he has exceeded expectations is an understatement.
He will need to be replaced at some point, because not only will he begin wearing down at some point, but he also has not been very good.
Travis Frederick is considered by some to be the best center prospect in the draft. And while that is arguable, there is no denying he would be an eventual upgrade at the position.
Frederick is a smart player who was the leader of the Wisconsin offensive line—which is always among the nation’s best units—for two seasons, starting 27 games as a junior and senior.
Round 5, Pick 140: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas (5'11-3/8", 227)
Coming off a season in which he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry behind a bad offensive line, Knile Davis has seen his draft stock plummet.
Couple that together with the injury he suffered his junior season of 2011 that forced him to miss the entire year and now his stock is really low. But he is a talented back who at one time led all SEC running backs in rushing yards.
He finished his sophomore season of 2010 with 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns on an Arkansas team that won the Southeastern Conference before losing to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl.
One thing not many are talking about when speaking of Davis is that he is as low-mileage as it gets for big-time talented backs. He carried just 349 times his entire career in the Razorbacks backfield.
Compare that to a player such as Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (924 carries) or Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor (843 carries), and he has far less wear and tear on his body.
Davis ran extremely well at the combine, blazing a 4.35 40-yard dash. At 227 pounds, that has to excite head coach Bruce Arians. This strong back has what it takes to be a late-round gem for an NFL franchise. The only question is about his foot and whether it can hold up to the rigors of playing running back in the NFL.
Round 6, Pick 174: John Boyett, S, Oregon (5'9-7/8", 204)
Like Davis, John Boyett missed an entire season due to injury. He played the first week of the 2012 season before undergoing surgery to repair tears to both patellar tendons.
He played the majority of his junior year with the injuries and still managed 108 total tackles and seven passes defended. His impact in the secondary as the Ducks’ free safety was immense.
He intercepted 10 passes during his three-plus season career, defended 30 passes and notched 278 total tackles.
Beyond the stats, he was the leader of the secondary and played as a single-high safety the majority of the time, being asked to cover sideline-to-sideline and doing so remarkably well. He is also a big-hitter despite coming in at a shade under 5’10”.
While Swearinger translates as an in-the-box safety, Boyett, as mentioned, is a pure free safety who can cover receivers when asked and provide run support when needed. The two could start in Arizona’s defensive backfield for years to come.
Round 7, Pick 219: Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State (6'3-3/8", 252)
Having seen the vast majority of Ohio State football games since he arrived in Columbus, I can tell you Jake Stoneburner is an underrated talent.
He is athletic and can line up both on the line next to the tackles and in the slot as an extra receiver. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash at the combine, then followed it up with a 4.53 at OSU’s pro day on March 8, so the quickness is there to be a mid-range and downfield threat for Arizona’s offense.
He may need to acclimate to the NFL game at first, having not spent a lot of time as a pro-style tight end. He caught just 53 passes in four college seasons, but 13 of those turned into touchdowns—all during his sophomore through senior seasons.
That means nearly a quarter of his receptions while at Ohio State (24.5 percent) resulted in a touchdown. Production like that is usually reserved for the best tight ends in the league. For example, Rob Gronkowski caught 11 TDs on 55 catches last season (20.0 percent) before breaking his forearm (and re-breaking it, then having it get infected).
He was always listed at 6’5” while suiting up for the Buckeyes, but his 6’3-3/8” measurement at the combine could hurt him on draft day. That is why he falls into Round 7 to the Cardinals—that, and, he was rarely used in college.