Another day, another new mock draft but still the same result: The Arizona Cardinals selecting a cornerback with their first-round pick.
Maybe once free agency plays out beginning in less than two weeks, something will change.
For now, ESPN’s Todd McShay follows co-worker Mel Kiper Jr. and others in believing the Cardinals will draft South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn with the No. 16 overall pick. From his latest mock draft:
J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones spell problems for opposing QBs, but who will be in coverage? Both starting corners are primed to hit free agency this month, and the Cardinals’ pass defense was middle-of-the-pack last year. Horn will get his hands on passes, bringing length and instinctive play to the outside. In just seven games in 2020, he broke up six passes and picked off two.
McShay’s mock released Thursday includes a few trades but is unique in a few ways. For one, it has quarterbacks coming off the board in the first four picks of the draft.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is the fifth signal-caller selected, going ninth overall by the San Francisco 49ers.
Yet the availability of two positions of need for the Cardinals are still reduced by the time Arizona selects at 16.
At receiver, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase (7th), plus Crimson Tide wideouts Devonta Smith (8th) and Jaylen Waddle (11th), are scooped up by other teams.
McShay’s mock also sees two cornerbacks, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain (10th) and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley (12th), get drafted before the Cardinals’ selection.
That left Horn on the board for Arizona, which faces losing free agent cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick this offseason.
Among dire needs, corner appears to be the top priority for Arizona, but when looking at the tiers of the draft, the Cardinals drafting one makes even more sense.
But offensive line could be another need with left guard J.R. Sweezy and right tackle Kelvin Beachum hitting free agency in the coming weeks.
McShay does have the top offensive guard in the draft, USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker, available when the Cardinals pick. He’s drafted shortly after, at 18th overall.
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