Well, the Arizona Cardinals’ offseason just got a whole lot more interesting after adding three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt on Monday. Their edge rusher room has become less of a concern than what it previously was. Drafting one could still be a possibility, but probably not until the later rounds. With just five draft picks this year, the Cardinals could have various ways they could approach it. With an NFC West division that continues to get stronger, this will be a crucial draft for the Cardinals with just five selections come April.
Here is the second edition of the Arizona Cardinals 2021 seven-round mock draft.
Round 2: USC OL Alijah Vera-Tucker
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Cardinals struggled in the run game late in the year and part of that was due to their interior line. Alijah Vera-Tucker provides versatility and athleticism and can come in and make an immediate impact Day 1. As J.R. Sweezy will be a free agent, Vera-Tucker should be the guy to come in and compete for the starting job. He doesn’t have an elite body frame, but Vera-Tucker displays a nice burst of speed off the ball along with steady balance throughout plays.
Round 2: Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II
The Northwestern cornerback has been a draft riser these past few weeks and could go earlier than expected. He has also met with the Cardinals recently. However, if he falls to the Cardinals’ second pick, they should not hesitate and take him. The Cardinals need secondary help bad and it will be shocking if they don’t address it in the first two rounds. With Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick hitting the market and Robert Alford struggling to stay healthy, that leaves Byron Murphy as their only reliable option. Newsome has the size the Cardinals need in their cornerback room. He has an ample amount of athleticism that would help the Cardinals immensely in their secondary.
Round 3: USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Cardinals are making another splash and going after yet another USC product from their talented offense in Amon-Ra St. Brown. The question that arises is whether Christian Kirk is a reliable second option for Kyler Murray. He certainly has the talent but he has not quite shown that full potential yet. Brown can come in as a third option, if Larry Fitzgerald retires, and work his way up to a second target. Brown has proven that he can handle the workload after Michael Pittman Jr. entered the 2020 draft. With Brown’s speed, technique and slowly improving on blocking, he should be a guy talked about more in the deep wide receiver class.
Arkansas RB Rakeem Boyd
Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports
The Cardinals are also desperate for running back help, being linked to Aaron Jones so far this offseason in a talented RB free agency class. However, they could also address it in the draft and roll with Chase Edmonds as their starting running back, which really isn’t too far-fetched. Even so, the Cardinals still lack depth with Kenyan Drake up for a new contract. Rakeem Boyd is not a jaw-dropping running back, but his elusiveness has improved the past few seasons. With a running back class that isn’t very deep, there are still players that could turn out to be draft gems. Boyd rushed for over 1,100 yards in 2019 and went overlooked because of the team he was on. He doesn’t have elite speed, but with the right coaching, Boyd‘s explosiveness and patience to find holes, he could develop into a solid complementary back.
Florida State EDGE Joshua Kaindoh
Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
Vance Joseph loves big-bodied players on his defense. Joshua Kaindoh is a mountain of a man, standing at 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds. He is a bit underweight and doesn’t have impressive speed. However, his size and length are unbelievable and will make it hard for teams to pass on him in the later rounds. With the right coaching and learning behind guys like Watt and Chandler Jones, Kaindoh would be tons of fun to watch develop into a productive playmaker for the Cardinals. With these draft selections, the Cardinals could have a very promising 2021 season. Signing Watt today was huge, but the job is not done yet and that very well might not be the last free agency splash we see out of Arizona. Signing a running back at the right price should be adamant, especially if they let Hassan Reddick walk. With limited draft picks, this will be a very intriguing draft for the Cardinals. Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Latest show: