Draft gurus see Johnson-Cardinals match

The Cardinals need
some help. They need a little less immediate help now than they did a
week and a half ago, when the quarterbacks on the roster were all
largely regarded as backup-variety guys, but a team that went 5-11 last
year, reached some all-time franchise lows on offense and has since lost
a few significant contributors on both sides of the ball isn’t lacking
for needs.

The good news: The Cards have the seventh
pick in the draft in a year in which there are few consensus top-five
players, and a variety of opinions on the top players often leads to the
scenario in which a lot of teams in the top 10 can plausibly make the
claim, “We got the best player on our board.” Even better news: The unit
most in need of help is probably the offensive line — despite coach
Bruce Arians’ recent assertion that returning-from-injury left tackle
Levi Brown is an “elite” player — and there are as many as five
O-linemen regarded as likely top-half-of-the-first-round
picks.

With that in mind, the draft-centric portion
of the internet seems to have settled on a consensus projection for the
Cards at No. 7, and that consensus is …

Lane
Johnson, tackle, Oklahoma.

FOXSports.com
draft
analyst Peter Schrager
, ESPN guru Todd
McShay
, three of the four NFL.com
writers
and three of the four CBSSports.com
experts
all have the Cardinals taking the 6-foot-6,
303-pound Johnson, whose stock went up considerably with impressive
showings at the Senior Bowl and scouting combine.

The
only outliers among major-site mock drafts have the Cards selecting BYU
defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper and
Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher, respectively. Only the
latter mock
, which belongs to prominent ESPN analyst
Mel Kiper, has Fisher still available at that spot, whereas only the
mock with the Cards taking Ansah, credited to CBSSports.com’s Rob Rang,
has them passing on either Fisher or Johnson if
available.

McShay even goes so far to say in his mock
draft, while projecting the Browns’ pick at No. 6, that it’s “common
knowledge the Cardinals would like to get Johnson with the next pick on
the board.” Whether he’s referring to actual knowledge or simply
perception is unclear, but that holds true for just about everything
that appears in mock drafts.

Long story short, if the
experts are right that (a) the Cards intend to take an offensive
lineman and (b) both Joeckel and Fisher will be gone within the first
five picks, Johnson would appear to be the most likely
choice.