NFL: AZ Cardinals Draft Needs
The NFL draft is set for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week. The AZ Cardinals have six picks; they have no picks in the 7th round at this time. There are several positions that this team needs to improve on in order to stay competitive in this tough NFC West. I am not going to try to predict players they will take; instead I will point out the top needs for this team.
Inside Linebacker is a top need. We are not sure about the Daryl Washington situation. He could be suspended again to start the season. And, with the departure of Karlos Dansby, this team has become very thin at inside linebacker. Kevin Minter, a rookie last year, should move into a starting role this season. Minter only had four tackles last year in limited duty and will need to have a strong camp to show he is ready for the NFL. Dansby’s production will be difficult to replace, and if Washington does miss time, the Cardinals will need another option to fill in quickly. The depth behind Minter is weak and needs upgrading.
Outside Linebacker is a top need as well. John Abraham had a very strong season for the Cardinals last season, racking up 11.5 sacks as an edge rusher in Arizona’s 3-4 defense. He turned out to be the only outside linebacker to be consistent in the Cardinals’ pass rush. But, Abraham is 35, so Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles will have to get him some help, with a top notch player for a long-term replacement for Abraham as a pass rusher.
Another area of need is at Safety. The two starting safeties from last season may not be on the roster when the season starts. Tyrann Mathieu will most likely start the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list while he continues to recover from ACL and LCL tears in his knee. Yeremiah Bell is a free agent and has not been offered a contract yet and might not be offered. Rashad Johnson is a decent player, but he has been inconsistent in his play since being drafted, so the Cardinals need to find an option in what has become an important position in the Cardinals defensive schemes.
Tight End, Rob Housler has not been the consistent player the Cardinals needed him to be. Jake Ballard and the newly-signed free agent John Carlson and have both been bothered by injuries. This might not be one of the higher priorities, but with the Cardinals committing to a more high-powered passing attack, they will need a quality player who can both block and catch at the tight end position.
Another position for the Cardinals to look at in the draft would be offensive tackle, because you can never have enough, especially for this team since it has never really had a dominating tackle in the past.
Quarterback is another position to look at. Carson Palmer has a few years left and with a deep draft for this position; it is time they drafted another quarterback to get him familiar with the NFL. I know they have both Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley, but this is another position that you can never have enough guys in camp to take a look at.
Look for the Cardinals to trade to try an acquire more picks and look for them to get involved in the rookie free agents who will not be drafted, as there will be several guys not drafted that can certainly make a NFL team due to the number of underclassmen who declared for the 2014 draft.
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