The Arizona Cardinals’ activity in the past week has narrowed down mock drafts mostly to offensive linemen. But the latest mock from NFL.com’s Charley Casserly bucks that trend.
The former NFL GM-turned-media pundit had the Cardinals going with South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw eighth overall in his mock draft 2.0. That marked only the second mock draft to have Arizona taking someone other than an offensive linemen out of the latest 13 mock drafts we’ve tracked.
Arizona already added to its front seven on defense in free agency by getting defensive lineman Jordan Phillips and linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Devon Kennard. They also have yet to re-sign center A.Q. Shipley and could use depth at right tackle, but Casserly went with defensive line for the Cardinals.
The need for a stud defensive lineman overrides the O-line issue, partially because Kyler Murray allows Arizona’s offense to function without top-tier protection.
As it stands now, Jonathan Bullard and Zach Allen are in the mix for a defensive line spot along with projected starters Corey Peters and Phillips. A big-time starter on the defensive line wouldn’t hurt, but adding to the protection of Murray seems more pressing on first glance.
The conventional wisdom has suggested the Cardinals might go with a defensive player at No. 8 if Clemson Swiss Army Knife Isaiah Simmons is available there — and he is, in Casserly’s mock draft, going ninth to Jacksonville. Maybe Arizona trades out of that spot altogether and moves back to get multiple players if a high-impact, position-of-need player isn’t there when the Cardinals are on the clock.
In that same Casserly mock draft, only one offensive lineman is off the board before the Cardinals pick — that’s Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton, who went fourth overall to the Giants. The quarterbacks off the board are LSU’s Joe Burrow No. 1 to Cincinnati, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa fifth to Miami and Oregon’s Justin Herbert sixth to the Chargers.
Kinlaw is the second defensive tackle off the board with Auburn’s Derrick Brown going one pick before Arizona, seventh overall to Carolina.