2011 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals' First 3 Possible Selections
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...
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
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.
First: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.