2011 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals' First 3 Possible Selections

Jack London@@Londonbridges21Correspondent IFebruary 18, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals' First 3 Possible Selections

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 02:  Kevin Kolb #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Dallas Cowboys on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Is it time for the combine yet?

    Seriously, let's get this crap with the CBA, the players union and the owners over with.

    It's ruining all the fun put into the NFL Draft.

    Anybody else with me?

    If you're still reading, I'll take that as a yes.

    Now, before I go into 10 players the Cardinals could draft with their first three selections, I want to send a heartfelt note to Kevin Kolb...

    Dear Kevin,

    Please come to Arizona. It's warmer here, and we have Larry Fitzgerald.

    What more do you want?



First: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Jordan Jefferson #9 of the Louisiana State University Tigers throws under pressure from Von Miller #40 of the Texas A&M Aggies during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by C
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    I'll say it for once in my life: I'm going to agree with Mel Kiper.

    He says the Cardinals will draft Von Miller in his latest mock on espn.com.

    At first I was skeptical, especially since Patrick Peterson was still on the board (I don't think the Cardinals would pass him up personally).

    But if you think about the Steelers defensive philosophy, which will be brought by new D-Coordinator Ray Horton, it's all about getting pressure on the quarterback.

    I mean, they took Bryant McFadden back. That should tell you how good their secondary is.

    And yet their defense, with the exception of the Super Bowl, was phenomenal all year long.

    Anyway, the key is pressure.

    And what has Miller done the past two years?

    Sack the quarterback.

    I'm drooling...

First: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 20:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers breaks up a pass intended for Korvic Neat #28 of the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Gett
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    I'm not sure if Peterson will fall to the Cardinals, but if for some reason he does, I would like to think that Horton would like what he sees.

    Peterson is a pure athlete.

    Enough said.

    He would take over opposite of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and maybe give the Cardinals one of the best secondaries in the NFC.

    So he may not fill as big a need as Miller, but hey, it would be nice to have an awesome secondary wouldn't it?

First: Robert Quinn, OLB, UNC

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a sack with teammate Marvin Austin #9 against the East Carolina Pirates at Kenan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by St
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Do we really want to spend a first rounder on a guy who didn't play in a real football game last year?

    He may be that good.

    But that is really the only reason he may fall through the cracks.

    Sure, he'll wow at the combine, but when push comes to shove, his character will be in question because of what happened at North Carolina.

    And we all know that Whisenhunt likes high-character guys.

    So, I think the Cardinals will go with Miller, because, for one, he's good, and because he fills a huge need (this is all assuming that the Cardinals get a veteran QB, which I believe they will do). 

    And the Cardinals have tended to draft that way the past few years with their first pick.

Second: Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Teammates Jason Pinkston #77 and Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers celebrates after a 19-17 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Pinkston is slotted to go somewhere in round two by cbssports.com as of right now.

    And maybe the biggest need for the Cardinals that everyone is overlooking is on the offensive line.

    Alan Faneca may not be here next year.

    And let's face it: Brandon Keith sucks.

    So the Cardinals would consider drafting a tackle in the first round if there were one worth drafting that early.

    But I guess they could do just as well with someone like Pinkston.

Second: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida St.

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29: Quarteback Christian Ponder #7 of the South Team scrambles out of the pocket against the North Team during the second quarter of the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.  (Photo
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Not too many people seem to be all that high on Ponder actually.

    And given his inconsistency in college, that's very understandable.

    He's also not the biggest kid and is injury prone.

    But I think he could make a solid NFL quarterback in the right system.

    And Arizona's is similar to the one he ran in college.

    Granted, I'm not sold on this QB class period, and I think in most normal drafts, Ponder would be a third-rounder.

    But Arizona does have a big need at quarterback, so if they don't fill it in the offseason, they must address it in the draft.

Second: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 21:  Justin Houston #42 of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    If for some reason the Cardinals don't take Miller in round one, they could go with an outside linebacker like Houston from Georgia.

    Granted, maybe a player like Bruce Carter from North Carolina would be better, but he has had injury issues.

    And Houston isn't likely to be around in round two.

    And he's not as fast as Miller.

    But he's still a solid pick in round two if the Cardinals go somewhere other than outside linebacker with the first pick.

Second: Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan St.

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    EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Greg Jones #53 of the Michigan State Spartans awaits the start of play against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27. (Photo by Jonathan Dan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    As good as Paris Lenon played last year, I think he won't be around much longer.

    Daryl Washington needs some help on the inside.

    And while this year's class isn't really strong, Jones had four great years as a Spartan, although a poor showing at the Senior Bowl might have ruined his stock.

    But he may be another option for the Cardinals merely because he may be more of an outside linebacker anyway.

Third: Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

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    MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 18: Lance Kendricks #84 of the Wisconsin Badgers catches a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Camp Randall Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Arizona State 20-19. (Photo by Jonathan Da
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Kendricks was a big part of the Wisconsin passing game this past season and a big reason why Scott Tolzien set the Big-10 single season record for completion percentage.

    Kendricks is big enough to be a solid blocker, which is what the Cardinals really want in a tight end, but better hands than what their tight ends have now.

    At least that's what I think.

Third: Demarcus Love, OT, Arkansas

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    This is a good possibility if the Cardinals go in different directions with their first two picks, as there is a desperate need for an offensive tackle, as previously mentioned.

    Love is a big kid who would be used to the Cardinals style of offense, as the Razorbacks tended to run a lot of shotgun.

    He would also be used to protecting a big quarterback who can move a little in the pocket (Skelton is similar in size to Mallett).

    It seems like it would be a good fit.

Third: Sam Acho, DE/OLB, Texas

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quarterback Taylor McHargue #16 of the Rice Owls loses the ball after he is sacked by defensive end Sam Acho #81 of the Texas Longhorns at Reliant Stadium on September 4, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Texas recovered the fumble and scor
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    I'd like to see the Cardinals get Acho.

    I really would.

    As I mentioned in a previous article, Acho does a pretty good job of getting to the QB and is very athletic.

    Granted, he may not be around in round three, but if he is, the Cardinals should not hesitate to take this kid.


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