What do you get for the team that needs almost everything? You take the best player available, and the Arizona Cardinals are in that spot.
With the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft all but locked up, the Cardinals are already on the clock.
Everything except a QB, for now. Josh Rosen is only 21 and he’s been thrown to the wolves in his rookie season.
He has few weapons, almost no running game and his defense can’t stop anyone. Because of that and his obvious talent, we’ll look past his 14 INT to only 10 TDs and 29.1 QB Rate.
Round 1 DE, Nick Bosa, Ohio State
If I’m in charge, I listen to offers from teams that want to move up.
There may not be a team-changing talent in the draft and it might be more beneficial to add assets for the current crop, but also future drafts. However, if Arizona keeps the No. 1 pick it’s clear where they should go.
Bosa has the upside to be a dominant defensive presence. He hasn’t played since suffering an injury midseason and choosing to rehab on his own in an effort to prepare for the draft.
The time away hasn’t hurt his stock, and Bosa is in a position to on the opposite side of Chandler Jones. Suddenly, the Cardinals’ pass defense could get far more respectable.
Round 2 OT, Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Arizona needs to protect Rosen better. Through 16 weeks, the rookie has already been sacked 39 times.
Risner may not be a left tackle in the league, but he projects as a kid who could be a longtime right tackle and a key cog in the running game–which is another area the Cardinals need to shore up.
Round 3 RB, Josh Jacobs, Alabama
Rosen needs weapons. Larry Fitzgerald can’t play forever and it seems David Johnson isn’t the same guy after missing almost all of 2017.
You don’t get to see as much of Jacobs as you would if he didn’t attend the 33rd NFL team, but he’s a multi-purpose running back with great upside.
Through three seasons in Tuscaloosa, Jacobs has just 225 rushing attempts, caught 43 passes and been in on only 268 plays.
To put that into perspective, former Bama standout Derrick Henry ran the ball 395 times and was in on 406 plays…in his junior year alone.
Some may take that as a reason to believe Jacobs won’t be a big-time pro. I’d beg to differ. When Jacobs has played, he’s been dynamic.
He’s averaged six yards per carry with 16 TDs and 11.5 yards per reception with four scores. He’s like a bigger, stronger version of the Chicago Bears’ Tarik Cohen.
I like that he hasn’t taken a pounding on the college level. It could help to extend his career in the pros. If you’re looking for a potential steal of the draft, Jacobs could be that guy if he’s available here.
Round 4 WR, KJ Hill, Ohio State
Yes, Rosen needs more weapons. As I said, Fitzgerald won’t be around forever, and the Cardinals need to start adding depth at the position.
Christian Kirk was coming along decently before he broke his foot in Week 13, but adding a player will Hill’s skill set is sensible.
Though he plays second fiddle to Parris Campbell in the Buckeyes’ passing game, at a sturdy 6’0″ 200 pounds, Hill still has the speed to take the top off a defense and the body to make catches between the hash marks while shielding a defender.
Round 5 DE, Charles Omenihu, Texas
While he doesn’t project as a major pass rusher, Omenihu looks more like a run-stuffing defensive end who could be serviceable on third downs if pressed into duty.
At 6’6″ 275 pounds, there is no question he has the size and strength to play on the next level.
Round 6 CB, Michael Jackson, Miami
Arizona would be looking for a Thriller with this pick…I had to do it. At 6’2″ 195, I love his size for the position, but at best, he appears to be more of a solid and not spectacular prospect.
Round 7 WR, James Gardner, Miami of Ohio
Perhaps Fitzgerald could mentor a young receiver who has some upside but has battled injuries in his career.
Gardner has the size and run-after-the-catch ability that teams covet, but his collegiate production has been down due to injury.
He could go undrafted and find a spot on a team as a free agent, but he looks like an NFL player if given the chance.