It’s draft time! We’ve had our experts tell you who will be drafted where, but now it’s time for you to throw on your GM cap and decide for yourself. Each day we will present an argument for each player and why the respective team should pick him. Then, it’s up to you. You make the pick. The next day, we will compile the results and you can see who is off the board. Disagree with all of the options? Be sure to write in your pick below in the comments section. OK, let’s get into it. The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock.
After a 10-win season and finishing third in the division, the Cardinals are looking to get over the hump.
Quarterback Carson Palmer amassed more than 4,200 yards and threw for 24 touchdowns last year. The problem for Palmer is he turned the ball over 28 times, including 22 interceptions. Ball security must be a priority moving forward for the veteran quarterback. To assist, general manager Steve Keim signed left tackle Jared Veldheer in free agency to buy Palmer some more time. With 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Cooper back in the mix, the offensive line should show some improvement. That doesn’t mean it can’t get better, though.
On paper, the Cardinals defense is one of the best from top to bottom. Arizona got to the quarterback often, finishing sixth in the league in sacks (47.0). They also employ a group of ball hawks in the secondary, which allowed them to intercept 20 passes last season. With Tyrann Mathieu fully recovered from an ACL injury and Antonio Cromartie signed in free agency, the secondary could take another stride forward. So, who will the Cardinals select with the No. 20 overall pick?
Mathieu was a pleasant surprise last season and was a valid argument away from being considered in the Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation, until his dreaded ACL injury. Adding Pryor would round out the team’s secondary and add another element of toughness to the defense.
UCLA OG Xavier Su’a-Filo
It’s certainly not the sexy pick, but this could help fortify the interior of Arizona’s offensive line for the next decade. Put Su’a-Filo opposite Cooper and you have a real strength up front.
Ohio State OLB Ryan Shazier
While outside linebacker John Abraham had a bounce-back season in 2013, he turns 36 in May. Enter Shazier, who was a very productive player during his time in Columbus, including being a Butkus Award finalist in 2013 after leading the Big Ten in tackles and tackles for loss.
Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio
Let’s face it, the Cardinals could use an upgrade at right tackle. While right tackle Bobby Massie showed signs of improvement, Kouandjio has the potential to be a 10-year starter in the league. Kouandjio was voted a first-team All American and semifinalist for the Outland Trophy. The knock on the 6-foot-7, 322-pound mountain of a man is several teams failed him on his physical because of an arthritic knee from unsuccessful surgery. Since then, Dr. James Andrews sent a medical update to every NFL team to quell the report.
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
The Cardinals have Cromartie and Patrick Peterson holding down their starting cornerback positions, but in the NFL the nickel corner is also considered starter-worthy in this league. Dennard has clearly fallen down the draft and the Cardinals could add a very physical cornerback to their secondary. While they have Justin Bethel and Jerraud Powers on the roster, Dennard has the accolades to back up his success on the field as he was a unanimous first-team All American and the Jim Thorpe Award winner.