Arizona Cardinals' Initial 2014 Round-by-Round Draft Big Board
The Arizona Cardinals have a bunch of team needs and only six picks in May’s NFL draft to try to fill them. Arizona has a pressing need at both offensive tackle positions. Bradley Sowell looks to be more of a backup at left tackle and right tackle Eric Winston is set to be a free agent in March.
The outside linebacker spot is going to be an area of focus as well. Arizona needs to find a young edge rusher who can bring pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It would be the perfect complement to the strength of the middle linebackers.
Tight end will be another area to watch. The Cardinals haven’t utilized the tight end much as a part of the offense. A solid tight end could open the field up for the wide receivers and running backs.
The cornerback position needs to be addressed as Arizona is scheduled to have three cornerbacks become free agents in a few weeks. The team needs to find a long-term starter opposite Patrick Peterson.
The kicker spot will also merit a couple glances in the later rounds. Jay Feely is set to be a free agent, and the Cardinals don’t have a kicker on the roster.
Arizona’s seventh-round pick went to Oakland as part of the Carson Palmer deal.
Start the slideshow below, and let’s see who Arizona could have on the board in the first round.
OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (pictured)
CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Arizona has the 20th overall pick, and this could go a number of ways. Offensive tackle is the most likely position given the Cardinals may need two of them. The names higher on the list are likely to be gone when Arizona makes its selection. Then again, you never know if someone might tumble down the first round like Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers did.
The tight ends offer an interesting proposition for the Cardinals. If Arizona takes one of them in the first round, they can have a more complete offense. The blocking questions could still remain.
A player in the secondary could shore up the Arizona pass defense. That could make the Cardinals one of the most feared defensive units in the league.
Let’s move ahead to the second round.
OLB Kyle Van Noy, Brigham Young (pictured)
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
OT Jake Mewhort, Ohio State
OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville
OG David Yankey, Stanford
OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
OLB Trevor Reilly, Utah
In this round, we see more players at the same positions in the first round. It’s kept this way since Arizona has several needs that could be addressed in the first three rounds. The first running back hits the potential big board here, and Arizona could have one of the youngest groups of running backs in the league if they took Carey.
The guards come into play should Daryn Colledge (and his cap hit of more than $7 million) get released before the draft. There are no rumors of that happening as of now, but it is worth watching when free agency opens in about six weeks.
RB Bishop Sankey, Washington
DE Trent Murphy, Stanford
OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech
OLB Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA
OT Billy Turner, North Dakota State
QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU
QB AJ McCarron, Alabama (pictured)
Quarterbacks start coming into play here. Carson Palmer is in the final year of his contract, and the Cardinals don’t have much depth behind him. The other two quarterbacks on the roster as of now are Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley. Stanton hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL in the last three seasons. Lindley has seen the field but has zero career touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He didn’t throw a pass in the 2013 season.
Arizona needs to find a long-term solution at quarterback, and it could be either McCarron or Mettenberger. Mettenberger isn’t quick but could fit the offense of head coach Bruce Arians if he’s looking for a pocket passer.
The defensive end position also starts to show itself as Arizona could use depth behind Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett. Those two players will combine to count about $20 million against the salary cap next season. Having quality depth behind them will help soften the blow if either of them gets hurt.
OT Seantrel Henderson, Miami
RB Marion Grice, Arizona State (pictured)
FS Dion Bailey, Southern California
DE Josh Mauro, Stanford
CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
Bailey already has his degree in planning and development from USC. He led the Trojans with five interceptions. He recorded 61 tackles on the season and 6.5 of them were for losses. Henderson is a big lineman who was slowed by injuries and suspensions at Miami but could be a big bargain if he stays focused on the field. The Cardinals should have seen a lot of Grice this season at ASU before he got hurt. He’s a quick, shifty runner who could fit nicely with the rest of the backfield.
Colvin could be a lottery ticket kind of pick for the Cardinals. He would have been closer to the first or second round if it wasn’t for the ACL he tore in Senior Bowl practice last week. Since Arizona only has six picks in the draft, this might be the time to start thinking about long-term development and stashing away a solid corner in Colvin.
The later rounds are always more wide open and difficult to predict. According to Matt Miller, Bleacher Report’s NFL Draft Lead Writer, the fifth round looks to have more linebackers available.
OLB Boseko Lokombo, Oregon (pictured)
OLB Telvin Smith, Florida State
OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
OT Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee
DT Caraun Reid, Princeton
We’ve also sprinkled in other positions Arizona could be looking to fill in this round. There's always a need for offensive linemen in this league, and James might be a later-line prospect for Arizona to add to the roster.
This is Arizona’s last chance to make a move in the draft. Oakland holds Arizona’s seventh-round pick, so this is going to be that best-player-available sort of pick for the Cardinals. This will be a little more generalized since it’s much more difficult to predict than the fifth round.
In each of the last two seasons, Arizona has struck gold in the sixth round. They landed Andre Ellington in 2013 and Pro Bowl special teamer Justin Bethel in 2012. Can they make it three straight years of sixth-round success?
Any available kicker.
A wide receiver to give additional depth behind Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Andre Roberts is set to be a free agent, and Arizona has little else beyond that on the roster at this position.
Additional depth on the defensive line.
Additional depth in the defensive backfield.