Post 516 – NFL Draft Needs: Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have the eighth pick in the draft after finishing 5-10-1. This will be the second year with Kyler Murray at quarterback and they made a big move to give him a weapon by trading for DeAndre Hopkins. Now they can possibly get him a lineman or they could address other areas. 

The Cardinals have six picks in the draft – no second round pick for DeAndre Hopkins, two fourths, and no fifth for choosing Jalen Thompson in the supplemental draft.     

I list the needs below, including major, for depth, and areas they are unlikely to look at. I may add categories for a particular situation.  

Major Needs (No Particular Order): 

Wide Receiver: The acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins lessens the need, but the Cardinals could still use at least one more top receiver. The other starters are Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. Fitzgerald has had a phenomenal career and he is still good, but not as great as he was. There is youth behind them including Trent Sherfield, Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson, and Hakeem Butler. The last three were drafted last year and Butler missed the season with a hand injury. A receiver could be chosen somewhere, but one of the second-year players could blossom. 

Tight End: Maxx Williams is the starting tight end and a very good blocker. Darrell Daniels and Dan Arnold are behind him. Charles Clay started last year, but he is an unsigned free agent. There is talk that coach Kliff Kingsbury may not value the position, but he did make Williams a big part of his offense several games in. On paper, this position needs improvement, especially a receiving tight end.      

Offensive Line: With a young quarterback in Murray, it makes sense to protect him. Currently, the Cardinals have DJ Humphries at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, and JR Sweezy at right guard. Center may have Mason Cole with last year’s starter, AQ Shipley being an unsigned free agent and Cole started when Shipley missed the 2018 season with an injury. Right tackle is a question with Marcus Gilbert and Justin Murray as possibilities. Murray stepped in when Gilbert was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Joshua Miles and Brett Toth currently back up the tackles, Sam Jones and Max Garcia at guard, and Lamont Gaillard at center. Tackle Jordan Mills is an unsigned free agent. This is a unit that performed beyond expectations and stayed healthy at four of five positions, but there is a chance the Cardinals address tackle, possibly in the first round, and an interior lineman for depth.  

Defensive Line: Corey Peters is set at nose guard and Jordan Phillips signed in free agency, coming over from Buffalo to play at one end. The other end is likely to be last year’s third round pick, Zach Allen, now that Rodney Gunter signed with Jacksonville. Allen missed much of the year, but they have high hopes for him. Behind them, the ends are Jonathan Bullard, Parsippany Hills alum Michael Dogbe, and free agent signing Trevon Coley. Inside, they have Miles Brown and Lyndon Johnson. Unsigned free agents are ends Clinton McDonald and Caraun Reid. Help is still needed here and Peters can become a free agent next year. They could pick somebody as high as the first round if Derrick Brown is available. 

Linebacker: This group starts with Chandler Jones, one of the game’s best on the outside, second in the league in sacks with 19. To give him help on the opposite side, Devon Kennard was signed from Detroit, where he had 7 sacks. Behind them is a question with Cassius Marsh signing with Jacksonville and Brooks Reid being unsigned. The depth is currently Keishawn Bierra, Kylie Fitts, and Vontarrius Dora. On the inside, Jordan Hicks holds down one spot well and De’Vondre Campbell comes over from Atlanta in free agency to play next to him. Behind them are Haddon Heights alum Haason Reddick, Dennis Gardeck, Zeke Turner, and Tanner Vallejo. Joe Walker went to the 49ers in free agency. There is a chance an inside linebacker can be chosen in the middle rounds with Campbell signing a one-year contract and they need depth throughout the unit. 

Cornerback: All talk starts with Patrick Peterson, entering his tenth season. He has been a major star and he is entering the last year of his contract. Playing opposite him may be Robert Alford, who was signed as a free agent last year to play opposite Peterson, but missed the season. This put second-round pick Byron Murphy in his place where he had typical rookie struggles. Brandon Williams is an unsigned free agent and there are six others on the roster, including Chris Jones and Kevin Peterson, both starting some games when Patrick Peterson was out on a six-game suspension for PED use. This position could be addressed at any point in the draft for depth and in case Patrick Peterson leaves. 


Quarterback: The Cardinals made the right decision to pick Kyler Murray instead of going with 2018 first rounder Josh Rosen. As long as he stays healthy, he gives them stability for possibly ten years and he should improve this year. In reserve is Brett Hundley. Also on the roster are Drew Anderson and Chris Streveler. They may pick a quarterback in the late rounds, but that is it. 

Running Back: Kenyan Drake was a very good acquisition from Miami and gained 643 yards in eight games, averaging 5.2 yards-per-carry. Backing him up is Chase Edmonds, who ran for 5.1 yards-per-carry.  Also on the roster is DJ Foster. This is similar to quarterback, but they could also pick somebody in the middle rounds, especially since Drake can be a free agent after the season.  

Safety: Budda Baker has two Pro Bowl berths in his three seasons, establishing himself as one of the game’s best safeties. His partner is Jalen Thompson, who was a supplemental pick last summer and looks to improve in his second year. The backups are Deionte Thompson – a fifth-round pick last year, Charles Washington, and Chris Banjo. If they pick a safety, it will be in the mid-to-late rounds for depth. 

*Information from various sources, including Pro-Football Reference, Sportac, and ESPN. 

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