2018 Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft – #NFLUKMock Version

256 selections over a vast number of weeks, the NFLUKMock once again took over NFLUK Twitter – but who made it to the Arizona Cardinals under my leadership and why were they the selection?

It’s fair to say the that NFLUKMock is somewhat of an annual tradition on Twitter these days; 32 separate Wannabe GMs selecting each and every prospect for their respective teams, it might be the most realistic simulation of the actual NFL Draft?

So, with that in mind, it was once again down to me to select for the Arizona Cardinals and here is the haul that I managed to compile throughout the 7 rounds of the NFLUKMock.

1.15 – Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Louisville

WHY? Well, this is a rather obvious answer. The Cardinals have struggled to find a long-term answer at the Quarterback position and Lamar Jackson was there, waiting for someone to give him a new home. My top picks for this position went at 3 and 5 respectively (Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield) so it was down to Lamar Jackson or somebody else.

Plenty of my “Fave Five” was on the board still, but I felt it better to just take Lamar here and then fill other needs later on in the NFLUKMock if possible. Other quarterback options may have presented themselves later on in the process, but the addition of a 5th-year option for a first-round selection made the most sense to give the Arizona Cardinals their (hopefully!) QBotF.

2.1 – Christian Kirk, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M

*TRADE – Arizona sent picks 47, 79 to Cleveland for pick 33*

WHY? Many see Christian Kirk as a potential first-day selection, so it might have been a surprise to see 32 picks pass in the first round without his name being called. However, I didn’t see him falling to 47, hence the trade up – lost one of the two 3rd round selections in the Arizona Cardinals’ possession to get him, but it’s a price worth paying in my opinion.

As we all know by now, Larry Fitzgerald is nearing the end of his illustrious career and so it only seems right to maybe look at who will succeed him in the desert. Could an Arizona native deliver for his hometown team? He was certainly productive in the college football ranks and is versatile enough to play either outside or as a slot receiver; given the lack of solid receiving options behind Fitz, he’d likely contribute from Day 1 in the NFL.

OPTIONS – Of course, without the trade up, there could have been several other guys taken with what was the 47th pick in the NFLUKMock – possibly another wideout like Equanimeous St. Brown or D.J. Chark? Maybe an offensive lineman like Frank Ragnow or Braden Smith? There were certainly numerous options but I know I would be happy enough with Christian Kirk being an Arizona Cardinals wide receiver.

3.33 – Armani Watts, Safety, Texas A&M

WHY? With the first compensatory pick in the 2018 NFLUKMock, the Arizona Cardinals found another safety to add to their depleted ranks with another TAMU graduate, Armani Watts. Who, I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard much about in the pre-Draft process, but the more I read up about him, the more he sounded like a good addition to the Cardinals secondary.

Sure, there are also concerns with him – such as less-than-ideal size for the position and sometimes lazy tackling techniques, but there is also a lot to like about him and it’s not like he won’t be able to work on and better his techniques with NFL-level coaching. I wouldn’t be concerned if he was added to the Cardinals roster, by all means, they need to replace guys they’ve lost there so why not with young talent in the NFL Draft?

4.34 – Kevin Toliver, Cornerback, LSU

WHY? Well, it wouldn’t be an Arizona Cardinals draft if they didn’t get their hands on another defensive back out of LSU, would it? Again, I won’t bore you to death with the story, but the Arizona Cardinals have a big need at CB2 across from Patrick Peterson. Could Toliver be the answer to those woes? Who knows.

Given that we’re now into the fourth round of the 2018 NFLUKMock Draft, chances of finding a starting calibre player are starting to wear a little thin, but in Toliver, there are the size and athletic traits that you simply cannot teach – with the previous history Steve Wilks has had with developing late-round selections into all-pro players. Could he do it with Toliver? Who knows. I’d take a flier on him with this 4th round pick and see if he can.

5.15 – Trenton Thompson, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

WHY? With the move to a 4-3 defence, the Arizona Cardinals are in need of rotational defensive linemen – there are plenty to choose from and someone like Thompson in the fifth round could be worth gambling on; though there are definite issues with his injury history and the fact he played hurt a lot of his college career.

But, like others in the same rounds as him, there’s potential there and something to work with IF the franchise is able to keep him healthy and out of the treatment room. Guess that’s all you can ask for from a fifth-round selection in the NFLUKMock?

6.8 – Roc Thomas, Running Back, Jacksonville State

WHY? As much as we love David Johnson doing it all, last year showed he can’t do it all if he’s not on the field. That’s why backups are crucial to keeping a teams’ rushing attack going if the main ball carrier is unable to play. Is Roc Thomas a suitable back-up for DJ though? And Jacksonville State? Yeah, Steve Keim loves his small-school prospects.

Reading up on Thomas, he has plenty of things already in his locker that could lead to him being a productive player in the NFL whilst still having plenty to work on as well – we’re in the 6th round of the NFLUKMock though, you’re hardly going to find another David Johnson this late on.

7.36 – Sam Mentkowski, Wide Receiver, UW-Oshkosh

WHY? Think of the most obscure college you can think of? Well, UW-Oshkosh sounds made up, but it does actually exist and so does wide receiver Sam Mentkowski. A D3 prospect from a small school with the potential to be the next Adam Thielen according to one post on ESPN, seems worth spending the near-last pick in the NFLUKMock on?

And, if that’s not the case, at least you’re now all aware of UW-Oshkosh.

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