@j_fairclough23’s 2018 Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft

We’re really ramping up the content here as we get closer to the 2018 NFL Draft, aren’t we? Another mock draft for you this time as John Fairclough has a go at drafting for the Arizona Cardinals – will his selections bare any resemblance to those which Steve Keim is going to make?

Hello Birdgang,

I shall forego the long introductions as you guys aren’t too fussed about me and more interested in the picks below.

For all of you guys that don’t know me, I’m a guy like Kyle and Tom who can be seen wasting countless evenings watching college and NFL football and to fill the void in the summer months, a lot of Diamondbacks baseball as well.

Podcasts of an evening, going to work, even in the gym trying to keep up to date with the latest NFL news.

The draft is such a special occasion and picks are never known to be good until a few years down the line. For real, Dorian Johnson was called one of the steals of the draft last year and we all know how that worked out.

Drafts divide opinions, we all have guys that we like and guys that we don’t. That is part of the fun of the “off’ season.

This is a mock draft based on what I would do if the Cardinals happen to stay at 15 and our subsequent picks.

On draft day, SK is known to be a mover and a shaker and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the organisation to trade back from 15, and then trade up from 47 into the bottom of the first. Further trades may follow as well. U

sing mock drafts, nfl.com and WalterFootball, I give you the following mock.

Round 1 – Tone Setter…

This is one of the hardest picks to make as it sets the tone of the draft. Depth at corner is remarkable in this draft, and each time I view the class it strikes me as deep.

Wideout is another need for the Cardinals but the receiver class this year strikes me as overly inflated because of a lack premier wideouts. There is a lack of a true #1 receiver.

However both Steve Keim over the years and Coach Wilks this year have continually talked about the game being won in the trenches, won up front.

So the Cardinals take probably the best player available at 15 as well; Notre Dame Offensive Tackle, Mike McGlinchey.

McGlinchey is a guy that will give the Cardinals bookend tackles; creating solid pass pro and above average run blocking. If you’ve heard coachWilks this off-season, the Cardinals figure to run the ball a lot with the leagues premier RB, David Johnson.

McGlinchey can also be an instant starter meaning we dont have to experience Andre Smith and watch Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh injure another Cardinals QB, especially one as brittle as Sam Bradford.

Keeping him upright and healthy is the key to our season. Mike McGlinchey plays a huge role in that.

Steve Keim also gets insurance if DJ Humphries doesnt reach the expectations on the left hand side, but that is for a different conversation.

Round 2 – Patrick Peterson gets his wish…

I said the corner class is as deep as I’ve seen it in an NFL Draft.

The more I watch Colorado Cornerback, Isaiah Oliver, the more I am enamored by his physical attributes and his speed; 6’1”, 190lbs and a 4.5 40 means he has what General Managers love in corners – length and speed.

Oliver is blessed by true speed and has a solid pair of hands which he will definitely need playing across from Peterson.

He will get tested early, but that is an opportunity to make plays and show his ability and I am sure he will excel.

Round 3A – Piece by Piece, Block by Block…

Auburn Offensive Guard, Braden Smith is a guy I really enjoyed watching complete drills at the combine.

He needs to finish blocks (that’s why he slides) but when youve got one of the best O-line coaches on your staff in Ray Brown, I think Smith will become a guy that finishes blocks.

I think he becomes a guy who cements the LG position in the future.

Mel Kiper Jr thinks Smith is a plug and play guy and the most underrated guy coming out from Auburn.

He offers protection for an injury plagued Mike Iupati and Andre Smith during year one, and becomes a starter the year after.

Round 3B – Outside the hash marks…

We all know the Cardinals have a need on the outside and I decided to pull the trigger on a wide out at this stage of the draft.

Michael Gallup isn’t a big receiver in the model of Auden Tate or Equanimous St. Brown but he has enough length and speed to get the job done.

Gallup, along with Chad Williams, Brice Butler and JJ Nelson spend camp battling for the number 2 and 3 wide receiver spots.

Gallup could come out and become a starter on the outside

Round 4 – The QBotF…

I’ve waited until round 4 to get the Cardinals their Quarterback of the Future.

When looking at the QB class for 2017, a prospect caught my eye that decided to return to college.

He isn’t the finished prospect and he has played his college career playing in a spread offense, but Luke Falk at Washington State is the kind of late round guy that I see having a chance to develop with a year sitting behind Bradford and Glennon.

He completed 66.9 percent of his passes (357/534) for 3,593 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 13 starts in 2017 and the year before had an accuracy of around 70%.

These are tools that Byron Leftwich can work on.

Round 5 – Dèja Vu…

Stop me if youve heard this before, but Steve Keim decides to take a DT/NT in the later round with the expectation of production.

When Rodney Gunter was drafted little was expected but he has turned into a very good rotational piece and, with the transition to 4-3, I envisage him taking more snaps. DT becomes a need later on as I see Nkemdiche taking snaps at DE when Golden/Jones need a breather.

In Round 5, Keim goes with Kendrick Norton from Miami who will compete as a Nose Tackle. His pash rush attributes aren’t fantastic, but Norton is a run stuffer.

Factor in his lineage (son of Oakland DC) and he has every chance to make it as a 2 down DT/NT

Round 6 – Thanks to the Veldheer trade…

David Johnson is the bell cow back, nothing is going to change there.

But behind him exists a lot of inexperience and more speed backs (TJ Logan, DJ Foster etc). Arizona needs a late round back who can pound the rock should DJ need a series off.

Bo Scarborough would be a nice complimentary piece to the running back position and challenge Elijaah Penny for short yardage situations.

Round 7 – Small School Alert…

Keim can’t resist drafting a small school guy who can help with special teams and has natural abilities that mean he could develop.

From a small school, he will have a chip on his shoulder as he has natural ball hawking skills. Do you remember what Coach Wilks did with a Carolina 5th round pick? This could be a true diamond in the rough.

Danny Johnson from Southern is the kind of guy you take a flier on in the hope it works out.

The front office does that here.

So the Cardinals don’t take an ILB or safety in this draft, but that is fine because there will be plenty of guys who come in during camp and plenty of other options.

On Offense, TE isnt addressed but again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see UDFAs make the team at that position.

Watch out for the Cardinals in 2018; they’re a sleeper team and the Red Sea will Rise Up.

John.

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