The Arizona Cardinals Select…???

At this moment in time, the Arizona Cardinals hold pick 15 in the 2018 NFL Draft. Options are endless, but there’s going to be 14 players off the board before they select – so who might be options at 15? Tom, Kyle and numerous other BritishBirdgang members have their say on the matter.

Mock Drafts are a crapshoot at the best of times, but they do give you an idea on who ‘might’ be a player that’s available for the Arizona Cardinals when it gets to pick 15 of the 2018 NFL Draft.

We’re fans of mock drafts on here; there was this one from Tom last week and another effort here came from Kyle, both with differing opinions on who might be the selection for Arizona should they remain at 15.

Clearly, there are many talents that they will have no chance to draft but, realistically, all names discussed in this article should all be options for the franchise. Options they may completely ignore and go for someone else, but what can you do?

So, with that in mind, here are a few guys that both Tom and Kyle picked out as options with the fifteenth selection in the draft. Also included are comments from various fans who contributed to the BritishBirdgang Mock Draft and had their say on who would be the Cardinals’ pick based on the prior 14 selections being unavailable.

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

(Kyle’s reasoning for selecting the Boise State LB prospect can be read in his mock draft)

Tom – Linebacker for the second straight season seems like a bit of an overkill in my opinion, but I wouldn’t be opposed to LVE being the selection at 15 because he looks like he will be a player that could have an instant impact in the NFL – given we have both Haason Reddick and Deone Bucannon as athletic specimens at the position, adding yet another would surely not be bad thing?

Not my most favourite selection here, but one that I wouldn’t be too disappointed with.

Mike McGlinchy, OT, Notre Dame

Tom – Offensive Line is somewhere that seemingly always needs to be addressed with the Arizona Cardinals; DJ Humphries has shown potential at LT, Mike Iupati is back from injury to slot in at LG, AQ Shipley offers a solid-if-unspectacular option at C, Justin Pugh signed a big deal to play RG (but has also had issues with injuries) and RT Andre Smith isn’t particularly great. Besides that, no issues whatsoever with the Cardinals offensive line…

McGlinchey was my selection in the mock draft I posted last week and I would stick by that being a solid selection at 15 were the quarterbacks all off the board; given what happened last year when both Houston AND Kansas City hopped above the Cardinals to select guys they had their eyes on, what is to stop lightning from striking twice?

He’d probably quickly unseat Smith at RT and start very early on in his rookie campaign and give Sam Bradford a protection upgrade.

Kyle – My top rated tackle in the class who projects as a right tackle in the NFL but won’t be a disaster if he does play on the left. He comes from a school known for producing quality offensive linemen.

Is 15 too high for a right tackle when it comes to positional value? Do the front office have enough faith in Ray Brown, the new OL coach, to maybe coach up a ‘project’ in the later rounds?

Certainly not a pick I would hate, in fact, I would be pretty happy with it, but I think the Cardinals will look for more of an athlete and trust Brown’s coaching.

PJ Alves – “I don’t trust the RT we signed in the FA. He’s really bad. We need to protect Bradford and Johnson.”

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Tom – It’s fair to say that Quarterback is another position that always seems to be a need for the Arizona Cardinals and this year is no exception. Incumbent Sam Bradford is a very good player when he’s been able to stay on the field and…that’s all I’m saying about that because I’m sick to death hearing about him being “injury-prone” and whatnot.

It always seems to be the case that plenty of quarterbacks are always just out of the grasp of the Arizona Cardinals and that might be the case once again this year; the “top 4” may be long gone by the time the Cardinals are on the clock (but I still hold out a faint hope that one of Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen maybe options, however unlikely that may be.)

So, Lamar Jackson at 15 might be a good decision for the franchise as they search for their future at the position. He’s got his detractors, for sure, but he’s also got one of the most exciting highlight reels of all the quarterbacks available given his mobility. Sure there are things to work on with him but with the presence of Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon, he wouldn’t need to play straight away.

Kyle – Outside of Josh Allen, probably the most polarising prospect in the draft. The most athletic QB prospect to come out in years with the ability to destroy teams with his legs, he has improved his accuracy and his ability in the pocket year on year.

The downside is his completion percentage was still below 60% in college (though the WR group at Louisville didn’t help him in the slightest), his Wonderlic score was a concern and quarterbacks who rely on running with the ball in the NFL don’t usually last that long.

Personally, if he was on the board at 15, I would be all over it as he was so fun to watch in college, but it isn’t a path I think the Cardinals will take.

Blair Fraser – “We’re in desperate need of a QBOTF and he has the highest potential in my opinion.”

Papu Manu Jr. – on Mason Rudolph, “smart player….can develop yr 1…and because we need a QB”

John Fairclough – also Rudolph; “I think with this draft Arizona have to pay the quarterback tax a bit here. Rudolph sits for a year and is ready to play in 2019 after the Bradford experiment goes ok.”

Harold Landry, DE, Boston College 

Tom- Now, I don’t have much to say about Landry as he’s not a guy I’ve considered – still live in the hope that Robert Nkemdiche isn’t a massive bust. So this one is all Kyle…

Kyle – Excellent 2016 tape, pretty average 2017 tape but played the season with a niggling ankle injury.

I love Landry, also we have no depth at defensive end and when have you ever heard a team say “we have far too many good pass rushers”?

I think he is a strong possibility at 15 if he is there.

Vita Vea, DL, Washington

Tom – Well, Nkemdiche could still be good under Steve Wilks and his 4-3 defence. But Vita Vea sounds as though he’d also be good for the Arizona Cardinals defensive line were he to be the selection at 15 – a massive human being with unreal athletic ability.

Comparisons to the likes of Haloti Ngata are ones which cannot be ignored and I’m sure Russell Wilson and his patchy offensive line would have nightmares having to face him twice a season.

Again, not a favourite of mine but I certainly wouldn’t complain were they to choose him.

Kyle – Monster of a man with athletic ability. Stuffs the run and has the ability to get into the backfield.

He has an ok stat sheet coming out of college and lacked consistency as a pass rusher.

The biggest red flag for me is only playing 50% of the snaps last season. A run stuffing nose tackle who plays limited snaps can be found in the later rounds.

Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Tom – A Cornerback? Well, again, this seems to be a running theme with the Arizona Cardinals in that they have nobody of note at the position besides Patrick Peterson. He’s that good, they need someone better than a Justin Bethel or a Tramon Williams so maybe the 2018 NFL Draft will give them the opportunity to upgrade there.

Will it be in the first round though? There are certainly options in this draft class but not necessarily needed in the first round, perhaps a starting-calibre corner could be found later and this pick spent elsewhere. Unless, of course, a Denzel Ward is available at 15? Then I’d snap him up in an instant.

Jackson isn’t a bad option at 15 though, certainly prefer him over someone like Mike Hughes in the first and maybe we’ll stop having such a headache at CB2. Maybe that’s worth this pick alone?

Kyle – It is pretty much accepted he is CB2 in this class (I haven’t included Ward in this list as I think he will be gone top 10). He has excellent size and had great production last season.

His main knock is his straight line speed which limits what he can do in the NFL, but he fits the profile Wilks likes in a cornerback.

@bobables – “Need a lockdown CB, could use a real ball hawk on one side of the field…”

Benjamin Blackburn – “Has the physicality and ball-hawking skills, also has more football intelligence than some other more pacey corners but the potential is there for having 2 lockdown corners.”

Kyle – on Mike Hughes – “We didn’t get a second CB in free agency and all the top 5 QB’s are gone so CB would be the best option here.”

Dominik Hoch – also Mike Hughes – “Best CB available, fills a huge hole we haven’t been able to take care of in like forever. Versatile, can play inside and outside. Speed and excellent ball awareness.”

Mathew Giles – on Isaiah Oliver – “Seen a lot of tape on him I think he could the best CB in the draft but a little under the radar.”

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama 

Tom – Now, I get why this is a thing but the more I think about it, the more I’m not a fan of this pick at 15. Like CB, this is a pretty deep class of wide receivers, and there are numerous options on Day 2 that I would rather see the front office use selections on (guys like D.J. Chark, Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis to name but a few.) who would still contribute as much as Ridley in their rookie years…and  they might even be better than him.

I will say this, I don’t hate the idea of a first-round receiver but I always have horrible flashbacks to the disappointment that was Michael Floyd. Ridley has his positive points but a 24-year-old rookie? That’s one thing that puts me right off of him. Give me D.J. Moore instead if you really have to address the need at 15.

Kyle – He is pretty much accepted WR1 in this class. He is the most advanced and smoothest route runner in the class.

However I will say it now, I am not a fan of his and would be so disappointed if we drafted him.

He will be 24 as a rookie, his college production was OK but got worse each year (doesn’t help when he has a running back throwing him the ball mind you) and he tested out as an average athlete at the combine.

He isn’t a bad player, in fact, I think he would come in and make an impact from the off and most likely be WR2 come to the end of the season. I just don’t see a high ceiling with him and I think there is a greater value to be found in the later rounds.

Jakob Warfvinge – “We need a good wr.”

Scott Cumming – also a DJ Moore fanboy – “Get that no.1 WR in place while Larry is still around to pass on his wisdom and because we’ve missed out on the primo QBs.”

Who will the Arizona Cardinals draft at 15?

It’s anyone’s guess…but we’ve given it a shot. Now watch as Steve Keim drafts someone out of the blue and this was all for nothing.

Ah well…

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