2011 NFL Mock Draft: The Arizona Cardinals Way Too Early Edition
The good news about a rough season like this one?
(Other than the fact that if we won 3 more games, we could've won the division...)
The Cardinals get a high draft pick.
Now what we do with that draft pick is anyone's guess.
It depends on a number of different factors.
Who do the Cardinals sign in the offseason?
Who do they choose as their new offensive coordinator? Or defensive coordinator?
Who do they resign? (Steve Breaston anyone?)
But right now we don't know the answer to any of those questions.
So what do we do?
That sounds fun.
Biggest Needs For The Cardinals
Harry How/Getty Images
Before we go any further, let me address the biggest need for the Cardinals.
It's really that simple.
And if they don't address it in the offseason, they have to address it in the draft.
There are other needs, however...
1. Outside 3-4 Linebacker: Let's be honest- Joey Porter and Clark Haggans didn't cut it this year.
So they need someone else at that spot to help the pass rush (which left a decently talented secondary rather exposed).
2. Offensive Line: The line wasn't terrible this year, just rather inconsistent. They need a tackle if nothing else.
3. Inside 3-4 Linebacker: Paris Lenon was a pleasant surprise, but I'm not sure that will last long. The Cardinals could use some depth.
4. Tight End: The Cardinals make a living without the tight end. I think that needs to end.
5. Cornerback: Greg Toler didn't have a great season. But then again, neither did Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Round 1: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The first pick is the biggest one, so I'm going to take multiple slides discussing it.
And we all know, as of right now, if the draft started today, the Cardinals biggest need is a quarterback.
And the best quarterback, in many experts opinions now that Andrew Luck has withdrawn, is Blaine Gabbert.
I have the feeling that the Cardinals could have won the division with more consistent quarterback play.
The biggest problem with drafting one?
They had two on their roster last season.
Still, even if the Cardinals go get another veteran QB (and hopefully release Derek Anderson), I'm not so sure that John Skelton is the future for them.
The other issue is whether Gabbert gets taken. Carolina may take him, but Gabbert as the first pick may be a bit much.
The other three teams are unlikely to take him (Buffalo, Cincinati, Denver), or they are just as likely to take a chance on Cam Newton.
Let me also make this clear: I do not believe Cam Newton will be a good pro quarterback. He reminds me of JaMarcus Russell actually.
Either way, as of right now I see the Cardinals investing in Gabbert. But if they don't...
Round 1: Other Options
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The nice thing about drafting at the fifth spot?
There are a lot of options.
There's a chance that the Cardinals don't want to take yet another rookie QB.
There's a chance that Gabbert could be gone (and I hope the Cardinals wouldn't take any other QB that high).
There's also a chance that they could trade down and get more picks (they need some help, admit it.)
But if they don't, here are their best other options:
1. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: The defense isn't as bad a some think, as the offense kept them on the field a lot this year.
And their weakness isn't necessarily at corner, but Peterson might be too good to pass up.
2. Robert Quinn, DE, UNC: This dude is a straight athletic freak. The Cardinals may take him anyway to help with the pass rush.
3. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M: Seeing a trend here? The Cardinals are probably better off helping their linebacking corp that their offense, which really just needs a QB (and some help on the offensive line...).
4. A.J. Green, Georgia, WR: Like Peterson, he may be too good to pass up.
Round 2: Jeremy Beal, OLB, Oklahoma
Doug Benc/Getty Images
It's a pure guessing game after the first round.
So I'm just going to start throwing out names that sound good...
Oklahoma has put out quite a few solid NFL players for one thing.
For another, you have to like Beal's size: 6'3", 267 lbs.
That makes him an excellent candidate for an outside linebacking spot in my mind, as this is one of their biggest needs.
They could also go with a guy like Mark Herzlich from Boston College, or Jabaal Sheard from Pitt.
Round 3: Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida
Doug Benc/Getty Images
The next biggest need by far for the Cardinals is offensive tackle. Marcus Gilbert is an offensive tackle.
That's about as deep as my analysis goes at this point, seeing how I didn't watch too many Florida games this season.
But I've heard it been said that Levi Brown needs to move back to right tackle, and the Cardinals need to draft someone for the blind side.
I couldn't agree more.
Some other possibilities at the tackle position include Marcus Cannon from TCU, and James Carpenter from Alabama.
Round 4: Charlie Gantt, TE, Michagan St.
I'll be honest, the tight end class this year is now exactly great.
Not like last year anyway.
But the Cardinals need to have a tight end they can trust in.
I have no clue if it will be Gantt, but this is a need that the Cardinals can't afford to pass up.
Round 5: Justin Rodgers, CB, Richmond
The Cardinals have this affinity for taking players from small schools.
So when I started looking for a corner for the Cards to get, I figured that a corner from a small school would work.
Round 6: Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
One area where I have a bit more background is in the receivers in college football.
I guess that's what you get for playing fantasy college football (yes, I do play that...don't laugh...).
Aldrick seems to fit the mold of the Cardinals offense, as they tend to use multiple receivers sets much like the Mustangs offense.
The Cardinals may draft a WR earlier if they let go of Steve Breaston (hopefully they don't).
Round 7: Karl Klug, DE, Iowa
Can't have too much support on the defensive line.
Can't have enough guys named Karl either.
I mean who wouldn't want to have a Karl Klug on their team huh?