Staying pat and taking the best players available
The 2021 NFL Draft is only one day away, which means mock draft season is almost over and this highly-anticipated event can soon begin.
Over the last few months, we have seen varying players linked to the Cardinals on all platforms. Najee Harris, Jaycee Horn, Kyle Pitts, DeVonta Smith, Patrick Surtain II, Jaylen Waddle, and many more.
The general consensus is for the Cardinals to choose the best player available at No. 16. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported yesterday that some of the teams he has spoken to have first-round grades on only 14-16 guys.
In all of my mock drafts posted on Revenge of the Birds, I chose to trade down to fill the gap with picks between rounds two and five. If what Pelissero said is true, the quality of players in this year’s draft might not be as good as we all think and choosing to stay pat at No. 16 might be the best option for Steve Keim and the Cardinals.
I completed this mock draft using the Pro Football Network mock draft simulator.
Without further ado, here is my final 2021 mock draft (picks and trades were generated by PFN):
Round 1 (16): DeVonta Smith – Wide Receiver, Alabama (6’0’’ 166lbs)
Last 15 picks: 1. JAX: Trevor Lawrence, 2. NYJ: Zach Wilson, 3. SF: Mac Jones, 4. ATL: Kyle Pitts, 5. CIN: Ja’Marr Chase, 6. MIA: Jaylen Waddle, 7. DET: Justin Fields, 8. WAS: Trey Lance, 9. DEN: Jaycee Horn, 10. DAL: Patrick Surtain II, 11. NYG: Penei Sewell, 12. PHI: Micah Parson, 13. LAC: Christian Darrisaw, 14. MIN: Rashawn Slater, 15. CLE: Azeez Ojulari
Date of Birth: November 14, 1998 (Age: 22)
It does not get any easier for the Cardinals in this scenario. The top two cornerbacks are off the board as are Kyle Pitts, Ja’Marr Chase, and Jaylen Waddle. DeVonta Smith falls to No. 16 due to his size (6’0’’ 166lbs) but Steve Keim will be more than happy to select him.
Smith was the 2020 Heisman Trophy Winner and for good reason. He set the SEC record in receiving yards (1,856) and receiving touchdowns (23) last year to go along with 117 receptions. He has a whopping 48 career touchdowns and set numerous of other records in college football history.
He might just be the best route runner in this year’s draft class with good hands and speed. Smith might not fare too well against press coverage but if cornerbacks fail to get their hands on him, they cannot press him. He may be a tweener, which has made him ineffective as a blocker, but he plays with smarts and a lot of heart.
Round 2 (49): Asante Samuel Jr – Cornerback, Florida State (5’10’’ 180lbs)
Last 15 picks: 33. JAX: Javonte Williams, 34. NYJ: Caleb Farley, 35. ATL: Trey Smith, 36. MIA: Jayson Oweh, 37. PHI: Ifeatu Melifonwu, 38. CIN: Levi Onwuzurike, 39. CAR: Gregory Rousseau, 40. DEN: Alex Leatherwood, 41. DET: Terrace Marshall, 42. NYG: Kelvin Joseph, 43. SF: Jaelan Phillips, 44. DAL: Pat Freiermuth, 45. JAX: Eric Stokes, 46. NE: Richie Grant, 47. LAC: Jabril Cox, 48. LV: Daviyon Nixon
Date of Birth: October 3, 1999 (Age: 21)
The need at cornerback remains high with Malcolm Butler starting on the outside and Byron Murphy slated to remain in the slot. Another talented player falls to the Cardinals due to their size and it is another easy decision here. Samuel is an instinctive cornerback that can play in the slot but has thrived on the outside at Florida State. The 21-year-old is coming off a three interception season and has 29 passes defensed in his college football career.
Samuel may be small (5’10’’ 180lbs) but he plays a lot bigger than that. He has great athleticism (4.41 40) and just knows how to get his hands on the football. If we are talking about the most “Pro-Ready” cornerback, Samuel might just be that guy. He has already met with the Cardinals quite a few times.
Round 5 (160): Kylin Hill – Running Back, Mississippi State (5’11’’ 214lbs)
Last 15 picks: 145. JAX: Demetric Felton, 146. NYJ: Cade Johnson, 147. HOU: Aaron Banks, 148. ATL: Adetokunbo Ogundeji, 149. CIN: Cam Sample, 150. PHI: Quintin Morris, 151. CAR: Victor Dimukeje, 152. DEN: Austin Watkins, 153. DET: Divine Deablo, 154. NYJ: Jaylen Twyman, 155. SF: Chuba Hubbard, 156. MIA: Shi Smith, 157. IND: Rodarius Williams, 158. HOU: Charles Snowden, 159. TB: Jermar Jefferson
Date of Birth: August 18, 1998 (Age: 22)
Like many players that have declared for the 2021 NFL Draft, Kylin Hill played in only a few games before opting out of the 2020 college football season. However based on Hill’s 2019 season alone, he would be a great value pick in the fifth round.
Hill had 242 carries, 1,350 rushing yards, and 10 rushing touchdowns in 2019. He has solid break-away speed that transitions into power as his plows through defenders. Hill can catch passes out of the backfield (631 career receiving yards) and would fit in the running back rotation nicely with Chase Edmonds and James Conner. Hill is not afraid of contact but instead, invites it.
Round 6 (223): Deommodore Lenoir – Cornerback, Oregon (5’11’’ 195lbs) (from Vikings – Mason Cole)
Last 15 picks: 208. CHI: Dan Moore, 209. LAR: Cornell Powell, 210. BAL: Justin Hilliard, 211. CLE: Thomas Graham, 212. LAC: Jimmy Morrissey, 213. BUF: Patrick Johnson, 214. LAC: Tamorrion Terry, 215. TEN: Jordon Scott, 216. PIT: Kene Nwangwu, 217. LAC: Larry Rountree III, 218. NO: William Bradley-King, 219. WAS: Semi Fehoko, 220. GB: Shemar Jean-Charles, 221. CHI: Jack Anderson, 222. CAR: Javian Hawkins
In all of my mock drafts so far on ROTB, Deommodore Lenoir is my sixth-round selection and that will continue here. My thoughts remain the same.
Lenoir was simply one of the best cornerbacks at tackling at the collegiate level. He made 154 tackles, six interceptions, and 27 passes defensed in his four years at Oregon. His excellent tackling ability, high motor, and physical nature would make him an impactful special teams player to start his career. Lenoir has met with the Cardinals.
Round 7 (243): Cary Angeline – Tight End, North Carolina State (6’6’’ 250lbs)
Last 14 picks: 229. NO: Alaric Jackson, 230. MIN: Dax Milne, 231. MIA: Marlon Williams, 232. TEN: Feleipe Franks, 233. HOU: Avery Williams, 234. PHI: Dez Fitzpatrick, 235. CIN: Briley Moore, 236. GB: Israel Mukuamu, 237. DEN: Olaijah Griffin, 238. DAL: Jacob Harris, 239. DEN: Kylen Granson, 240. PHI: Errol Thompson, 241. LAC: Tre Norwood, 242. NE: Jalen Camp
A former basketball player playing the tight end position seem to be common in the NFL nowadays. In comes Angeline, a tight end with a long catch radius who had 11 receiving touchdowns over the last two years at North Carolina State and 960 receiving yards in his college football career.
Considering this is the seventh round, there are no risks with taking any of the players available here. Angeline has the size and athletic ability to be a tight end at the NFL level. That is really all you need to know.
Round 7 (247): Larnel Coleman – Offensive Tackle, Massachusetts (6’6’’ 307lbs) (from Raiders – Rodney Hudson)
Last 3 picks: 244. MIA: K.J. Britt, 245. PIT: Malcolm Koonce, 246. ATL: Noah Gray
NFL teams covet offensive tackles with length and Larnel Coleman certainly has that with his 36-inch arms. He has the desired size and athletic ability for his position, which will make Coleman an intriguing project as a potential swing tackle on the offensive line.
He made 16 starts at left tackle and 13 start at right tackle in his four years at the University of Massachusetts. He performed admirably at his Pro Day, benching 24 reps and running a 5.1 40-yard dash. Coleman has met with the Cardinals.
Here is a shorter version:
Round 1 (16): DeVonta Smith – WR, Alabama
Round 2 (49): Asante Samuel Jr – CB, Florida State
Round 5 (160): Kylin Hill – RB, Mississippi State
Round 6 (223): Deommodore Lenoir – DB, Oregon (from MIN)
Round 7 (243): Cary Angeline – TE, North Carolina State
Round 7 (247): Larnel Coleman – OT, UMass (from LV)