Mock 1.0: What will the Cardinals do at Pick #16?
The Arizona Cardinals have some soul searching to do this offseason. I believe a lot of their answers are in-house, as they started 5-2 before lackluster play eventually derailed their season. A lot of this can probably be blamed on the coaching staff for “taking their foot off the gas,” and I know a lot of people are going to expect Arizona to go offense in the first-round. Pump the breaks on those ambitions though, because I believe that Arizona has a high-power offense and they showed they are a force to be reckoned with. Arizona fans will most likely also wish to replace fan-favorite, Larry Fitzgerald, who is once again involved in rumors of retirement, or continue to strengthen Kyler Murray’s offensive line. The pressing issue to me is that the team’s top two cornerbacks, Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick, are set to hit free agency, and Arizona will need to fill those vacated holes immediately if they are to compete in a division with passers, Russell Wilson and Jared Goff. In four combined games against the two opposing QBs, Wilson and Goff combined for 6 TD, 3 INT, while John Wolford added just one INT in a week 17 elimination game. Those numbers are decent, yes, but the Cardinals cannot allow a drop-off in their secondary’s performance when they still finished with a 2-4 record against the rest of the NFC West last season. The need to add a top-5 cornerback is very much real.
Arizona surprised everyone by selecting Isaiah Simmons in the first-round last year with pressing needs on the offensive needs, so who’s to say they will not go defense again this season?
Prediction: Round 1- Pick #16: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
The Cardinals are in a spot in which they will have access to a top-5 DB this draft, but unfortunately it is unlikely that Patrick Surtain II or Caleb Farley will fall to them at pick #16. They could, however, get a steal in South Carolina cornerback, Jaycee Horn. In his two non-pandemic atmosphere seasons in 2018 and 2019, Horn recorded over 40 total tackles in each season. His career South Carolina stats (3 seasons) feature: 101 total tackles, 69 of which were solo, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. Horn has also competed against some of the best to play in the SEC this season including top tight end prospect Kyle Pitts of Florida, and Alabama Heisman Trophy Winning receiver, DeVonta Smith; both of whom are considered top-10 picks in this year’s NFL draft. Horn can ultimately be a huge upgrade for the Cardinals secondary, and a more affordable one that will allow Arizona to address other needs of their 2021 team in free agency with Peterson’s mega contract now off the books and still allow for a potential reunion with Kirkpatrick.
Prediction: Arizona’s Remaining Picks (With NO Trades)
- Round 2, Pick #49: Jalen Mayfield, OT, Michigan
- Round 3, Pick #79: Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt
- Round 4, Pick #144: Aaron Banks, OG, Notre Dame
- Round 6, Pick #207: Master Teague, RB, Ohio State
*Check back for my next mock draft for the Arizona Cardinals coming February, 2021