Loading scores...
Kliff Kingsbury
AP
Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: Cardinals

by Evan Silva

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is Rotoworld's Senior NFL Editor, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) is Rotoworld's lead Draft Analyst. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in April’s draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

Notable Pre-Draft Additions: MLB Jordan Hicks, DE Terrell Suggs, DT Darius Philon, RT Marcus Gilbert, RG J.R. Sweezy, TE Charles Clay, G/C Max Garcia, QB Brett Hundley, CB Tramaine Brock, WR Kevin White.

Starting Offense

QB: Josh Rosen
RB: David Johnson
WR: Christian Kirk
WR: Chad Williams
SLWR: Larry Fitzgerald
TE: Charles Clay
LT: D.J. Humphries
LG: Justin Pugh
C: Mason Cole
RG: J.R. Sweezy
RT: Marcus Gilbert

Starting Defense

RE: Chandler Jones
LE: Terrell Suggs
NT: Corey Peters
3T: Robert Nkemdiche
MLB: Jordan Hicks
WLB: Zeke Turner
SLB: Haason Reddick
LCB: Patrick Peterson
RCB: Robert Alford
SCB: Tramaine Brock
FS: D.J. Swearinger
SS: Budda Baker

Team Needs

Silva's Analysis

Defensive Line: Suggs, Peters and Brooks Reed are on the back nine of their careers, while 2016 first-round DT Nkemdiche has been an injury-plagued disappointment. Last year’s Cardinals finished 29th in run-defense DVOA, allowing the NFL’s third-most yards per carry (4.9). On the off chance the Cards pass on Kyler Murray at No. 1, their best-case fallback option would be to trade down a few spots and acquire one of the draft’s best front-four talents.

Offensive Line: Last year’s Arizona line permitted the NFL’s fifth-highest quarterback hit rate (20.3%) and fifth-most sacks (52). It was just as bad in run blocking, surrendering the league’s third-highest tackle for loss rate (28.5%) and finishing 25th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards. Although GM Steve Keim aggressively signed lower-cost veteran linemen in free agency and traded for Gilbert to shore up right tackle, the Cardinals remain short on bankable front-five starters. Repeated knee injuries cost Humphries 18 games over the past two seasons. Right guard should be wide open.

Pass Catcher: Assistance is also needed at corner and off-ball linebacker, but pass-catching upgrades should take precedence for Arizona’s young quarterback. Only Kirk and Fitzgerald return as bankable assets in Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid spread; Kirk is coming off a broken foot and Fitzgerald turns 36 before the season. Injuries have sapped 30-year-old Clay of any remaining playmaking ability. Ricky Seals-Jones was one of the worst tight ends in football last season.

 

Cardinals 2019 Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (1). QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma - If you’re going to fire a head coach after one season and pluck one from the college game based on his offensive play calling, go all-in. Murray can succeed inside and outside of structure. With that said, the team must continue to invest in the offensive line or they set any quarterback up for failure.

2 (33). iOL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College - BOLA. Best offensive lineman available? Lindstrom played tackle in college but should move inside to guard in the same way Joel Bitonio did. It helps that Lindstrom tested like one of the best athletes in this class with an athletic profile in the 96th percentile.

3 (65). iDL Greg Gaines, Washington - If the goal is to improve run defense, Gaines is one of the better additions in this class. Throwing the ball and defending the pass are obviously important, but if you can’t stop the run at the level the Cardinals sank to, then you’re consistently facing an uphill battle.

4 (103). WR Andy Isabella, UMass - I love this fit. Murray was outstanding throwing to Marquise Brown in college due to his outside to inside capabilities, and speed both after the catch and on vertical routes. Brown is a better player than Isabella, but the super productive UMass receiver boasts a similar profile.

5 (139). TE Josh Oliver, San Jose State - Frequently moved around the formation to create matchups, which he won with size and fluidity as a receiver. However, he has clearly improved his blocking and could work inline or out of the slot.

6 (174). EDGE Malik Reed, Nevada - Maybe Reed will go much earlier, as he flashes a couple of outstanding pass rushing reps every game. This issue is that his skills come in a 6-foot-1, 234-pound package. Still, he is a bolt of energy as a pass rusher.

6 (179). T Yosh Nijman, Virginia Tech - Investing in late round, athletic blockers in the later rounds in the hopes of developing them is one way to build depth.

7 (248). CB Tim Harris, Virginia - Missed a good portion of his final collegiate season, but he presents an athletic profile in the 92nd percentile.

7 (249). S Andrew Wingard, Wyoming - Safety who loves to fly forward, and even held his own in some slot corner duties during East-West Shrine week.

7 (254). WR Reggie White Jr., Monmouth - Super fluid receiver from the lower levels of collegiate football. Won on broken plays and screens.

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .