Todd McShay’s latest NFL mock draft might draw interest to Cardinals fans because the ESPN analyst has Arizona moving down the board via a first-round trade.
We’ll get to that in a bit.
The real intrigue, however, is that McShay on Thursday posted a two-round mock draft that also considers what the Cardinals might do with their second-round pick at 49th overall.
There, the NFL draft expert has Arizona making a classic Steve Keim-type pick, selecting 5-foot-7 Purdue receiver Rondale Moore.
Arizona has DeAndre Hopkins for a while, but A.J. Green and Christian Kirk will play 2021 on expiring contracts. Moore is an explosive slot receiver who makes guys miss with his speed, and he showed what he can do with a full season in 2018, when he went for 1,258 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns.
The Cardinals under Keim as general manager have a history of picking players who stood out on the combine circuit.
Dating back to 2013, Arizona has taken four wide receivers in the draft who have posted sub-4.40-second times in the 40-yard dash. The latest came in 2019, with UMass’ Andy Isabella going 62nd overall to the Cardinals.
If you didn’t hear about Moore’s pro day on March 23, well, he put up numbers that might excite a Cardinals team that has that history of selecting those speed-burners.
Moore ran a 4.29-second 40-yard dash and posted a 42.5-inch vertical leap.
Pro Football Focus’ grading system sure sees Moore as more than a freak athlete.
He posted the third-best rating among outside receivers in the Big Ten over the past two years, behind Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman and Ohio State’s Chris Olave.
If he were drafted by Arizona, Moore in theory could be up for immediate playing time if he beat out Isabella and KeeSean Johnson as the fourth receiver to supplement Hopkins, Green and Kirk. He would need to prove capable in the slot in order to earn that playing time.
McShay thinks the Cardinals taking another swing at a speedy receiver makes sense, though you could understand why Keim might be apprehensive considering the relative lack of success from past receivers he’s taken.
While 2014 third-round pick John Brown turned out to be a hit, the others who had relatively much less success in the NFL include Isabella, J.J. Nelson (2015, fifth round) and Ryan Swope (2013, sixth round).
Now back to the first round of McShay’s mock. The analyst has the Cardinals sliding back two slots from their No. 16 pick in exchange for a late-round pick. With the Miami Dolphins’ 18th overall selection, McShay mocks Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley to Arizona.
That’s not straying far from the majority of mock drafts, which see Arizona selecting one of the top corners in the first round.
Here’s what McShay has to say about Farley:
Patrick Peterson is off to Minnesota, both starting outside corners — Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford — signed one-year deals and Byron Murphy Jr. is mainly a nickelback. Farley had a back procedure at the end of March, and though it isn’t expected to impact his training camp availability, it’s a concern. Still, he is the best cover corner in the class and fits what the Cardinals are looking for on the outside.