It’s the mock draft many of you have been waiting to see. Heck, it’s the mock draft that I hope comes to pass the most — at least in round one.
I want to begin by saying that I think the chances of Alabama guard Chance Warmack being selected at the seventh overall pick is slim. I don’t think it’s a bad pick — if I was the person in charge, he is the guy I would want over anyone not named Geno Smith, but he’s still a guard.
In all of the advancements in the NFL today, the one that hasn’t taken off quite yet is the value of an interior offensive lineman.
With that, we also have a firm grasp on what picks the Cardinals will have, as I have been inaccurate (which I apologize for) — the Cardinals will only have one additional sixth round selection.
So here’s a mock draft for the Cardinals only should they tab Warmack in the first round in April.
Round 1: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama – 6-2, 317 lbs
Warmack measured in slightly smaller than expected at the NFL Scouting Combine, but the reality is he is as dominant of a guard prospect as we have seen come out in nearly… well, a full season (David DeCastro).
The small difference this season is that there isn’t as great of a top end talent at “value positions” as there was in 2012.
Warmack is a road grader that will help in the run game, something that the Cardinals desperately need, but is also an excellent pass blocker.
Round 2: Corey Lemonier, OLB, Auburn – 6-3, 255 lbs
I have spoken about the needs of the Cardinals at length and by now we are all familiar with the need for a pass rusher. Lemonier could be that player.
Lemonier is a fantastically-built athlete, with great arm length, excellent speed and good strength. What he needs to prove is that he can move laterally in space, as he looks tight in the hips.
Lemonier was nearly alone as a pass rushing threat at Auburn and, in my opinion, was out of place as an undersized defensive end. But as the Cardinals try and improve on an already good defense, he could be the missing piece as an outside linebacker.
Round 3: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee – 6-6, 235 lbs
I was waiting until I picked Warmack to drop the Bray bomb as well and that is what I am doing with this mock. Bray has special arm talent, something that will be looked at more deeply over the next couple of weeks.
He needs work on the field with technique, footwork and mechanics, and needs to show that he has grown up off the field. However I think with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians and assistant head coach Tom Moore behind him, they could get the absolute most out of Bray’s skills.
Round 4: Chris Faulk, LT, LSU – 6-6, 335 lbs
(Taken from mock 2.0)
While he may not possess the ideal size of today’s left tackles, Faulk is a powerfully-built, yet smooth pass blocker.
He’s coming off a major injury and there are plenty of question marks with not only his health, but his conditioning as well.
If healthy though, Faulk has enough upside to become a franchise-type left tackle, which would also be an excellent fit in the run game.
Yes, I moved Faulk a round up. That’s what happens when more and more people begin talking about him. I have a third round grade for those wondering.
Round 5: Marc Anthony, CB, California – 5-11, 196 lbs
Anthony is a well-built, physical press corner, who loves to mix it up at the line of scrimmage, in the run game and get after receivers.
Anthony is aggressive in his coverage, keeps his eye on the ball, and jumps routes very well, but can play himself out of coverage far too often.
Gets out of position and beat because of his tenaciousness at times, and although he is a willing and able assistant in the run game. Anthony too often goes for kill shots and doesn’t wrap up which leads to missed tackles.
Round 6: Abry Jones, DE, Georgia – 6-3, 308 lbs
Jones was an instrumental piece in a good Georgia 3-4 defense and lined up all over the front three, but would be a nice depth rotation piece for the Cardinals.
He has the length and quickness to play behind both defensive ends in the Cardinals three-man front, and could even spell the nose tackle position in a pinch.
Jones is coming off an ankle injury that required surgery and ended his 2012 campaign, but he is an intriguing later round player that has the upside to contribute early.
Round 6: Steve Beauharnais, ILB, Rutgers 6-2, 235 lbs
Beauharnais is a two-down inside linebacker who may be able to come in and push for time as the inside linebacker next to Daryl Washington.
He possesses good lateral movement, has a good build and plays with an excellent burst that he displays against the run.
Too often he can get washed out by bigger interior offensive lineman as he tries to slip blocks instead of stacking them and then shedding.
Is a reliable tackler who needs work on wrapping and driving instead of wrapping and dragging down the ball carrier, and doesn’t show the ability to drop into coverage.
The Chance Warmack mock draft is intriguing to me as it gives the Cardinals the physical presence on the inside of the offensive line that they sorely need, while also addressing the pass rushing position and getting the quarterback with perhaps the most talented arm in the draft.
If the Cardinals see the value of Warmack, this draft dream could become a reality, I just don’t see it happening.