The Gambo 5: Five prospects to watch for Cardinals at No. 15 in NFL Draft
With Monday marking the start of NFL Draft week, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro has released The Gambo 5.
If you’re not familiar with the list, Gambadoro narrows down the targets for the Arizona Cardinals to the five players he sees as the most likely for the Cardinals to select in certain ranges of the 2018 NFL Draft. Gambadoro had Haason Reddick in The Gambo 5 for Day 1 in last year’s draft and Budda Baker in the Day 2 edition.
Monday starts with the Day 1 players to watch at No. 15 and one honorable mention to keep an eye on in terms of trading up.
Here are those six players in the order they were revealed on 98.7 FM’s Burns & Gambo, along with Gambadoro’s insight, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s draft profile and where that prospect has been selected in the latest mock drafts.
Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Gambo’s insight: When you go best player available, this kid is an absolute stud. His coverage ability is second to none. You’ve got a defensive coach in Wilks, you move into a 4-3, he’s a Luke Kuechly type of player. He has those types of leadership skills. He’s that special of a player. He could go as high as No. 6 to Indianapolis. He may not be there at No. 15.
Kiper’s analysis: A tackling machine. Sideline-to-sideline defender. Great range. 4.5 speed, can play inside or outside, very instinctive player. He will be the centerpiece, the foundation piece, of your defense.
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Gambo’s insight: Hybrid guy. There’s a ton of teams that are interested in him. He is a special player. He will be one of those guys who will be highly considered at No. 15 if he is on the board, which I think he will be. One of the best defensive backs in the draft.
Kiper’s analysis: In that Kam Chancellor mold, only a little bit more athletic. Long arms, tremendous speed under 4.5. Really strong, tremendous athletic ability. This is rare talent for a big safety who kind of plays like a linebacker but has safety skills. This is a talent that really thrives in today’s NFL.
Mock draft placement: CBS – No. 15, NFL – No. 24, SI – No. 16, PFF – No. 7
Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Gambo’s insight: Unlike James, Fitzpatrick is a guy who can play other positions. Smart player. Ballhawk. I think he’s kind of in that range (of No. 15).
Kiper’s analysis: He doesn’t have the explosive athletic testing numbers but on the field with the pads on (he has) great versatility. Can play corner, slot and safety. He’s a true playmaker who goes about his business in a professional manner.
Mock draft placement: CBS – No. 23, NFL – No. 7, SI – No. 7, PFF – No. 13
Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
Gambo’s insight: He doesn’t have the great experience — he played one year at Central Florida — but was just a dominant player when he was there. He was at North Carolina and left after disciplinary reasons. The Cardinals like Hughes more than Louisville’s Jaire Alexander, similarly to how they liked Haason Reddick more than Rueben Foster last year.
Kiper’s analysis: Technique, his footwork, his ball skills, his athleticism are all top-notch. He’s also got tremendous return ability. He could be a lead corner and also help out big-time in the return game. Mike Hughes, on potential alone, is very exciting.
Mock draft placement: CBS – not in the first round, NFL – No. 14, SI – No. 15, PFF – No. 31
D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Gambo’s insight: He’s ahead of Calvin Ridley. If they stay at No. 15, this is the value here. He’s the one offensive player in my five. This kid is a stud wide receiver. Great speed, great vertical, 80 catches last year. Holds onto everything.
Kiper’s analysis: I’ve been raving about D.J. Moore for the last couple of years. 210-pound, 6-foot receiver with 4.42 speed, 39 and a half-inch vertical jump and 11-inch broad jump, in addition to great productivity. Remember, Maryland used four quarterbacks this past year yet he rarely dropped a catchable ball, was consistent week after week (and) could play in bad weather conditions. Has the punt return skills as well. He could be a go-to No. 1 focal point of a pass offense in the NFL.
Mock draft placement: CBS – No. 16, NFL – No. 19, SI – No. 19, PFF – No. 29
Honorable mention: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Gambo’s insight: If they do make a move to go get a quarterback, it’s not for Baker Mayfield (and) it’s not for Josh Allen because I don’t think those guys are reachable. How far will Rosen fall? Will he go to six? Will he go to eight? Will he go to Buffalo at 12? Can you jump ahead of Buffalo at 12? Those are the things we just don’t know with Rosen.
Kiper’s analysis: You look at Rosen, throwing the football — very artistic, throws the tight spiral, throws accurate balls, very catchable balls. In the three, five and seven step drop situations, he’s ideal, he’s pro-ready, all that. The concern with Rosen is two straight years of injury.
Mock draft placement: CBS – No. 5, NFL – No. 3, SI – No. 3, PFF – No. 3