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.