If you were to survey 100 Arizona Cardinals fans and ask them what the team’s biggest need is in next week’s NFL Draft is, you’d likely get one of three answers.
Some would say quarterback, while others would be split between pass rusher and offensive line help.
Most experts believe that the Cardinals’ acquisition of Carson Palmer at least delays the urgency to draft a quarterback in the first round, so that leaves pass rusher or offensive lineman as Arizona’s likely direction.
If the Cardinals are set on a franchise left tackle, they’ve got options. Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson of Oklahoma are all highly-rated prospects worthy of the team’s seventh overall draft pick.
But there is a problem — there are a lot of teams looking for the same thing.
Mike Mayock of NFL Network joined Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 620 Wednesday and painted the picture.
“I think there’s two levels here — I think Lane Johnson could be gone by Detroit (at no. 5) and if you assume Kansas City is going to take a tackle (first overall), I think the second one comes off the board between Jacksonville (no. 2), Oakland (no. 3) and Philly (no. 4) — all of them have a need,” Mayock said. “And then Detroit is salivating, trying to get that third tackle.”
If Detroit doesn’t pick a tackle, Mayock thinks plenty of other teams could feverishly try to move up to get the remaining bookend.
“I think there’s a pretty good chance all three are gone by five. However, if Detroit surprises with (BYU defensive end) Ziggy Ansah or something and Lane Johnson is sitting there at six with Cleveland, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see San Diego or Miami trying to get up ahead of Arizona.”
That scenario would likely mean that the Cardinals, if they keep their pick at number seven, would have a decision to make on whether to address the defense or pick Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack.
“I’ve got Chance Warmack as a top five or six player in the country and I’ve got(Oregon DE/OLB) Dion Jordan in the same place.
“If Dion Jordan was there, I really believe he’s going to be a playmaker,” Mayock said. “If that kid can put 20 pounds on over the next two years,which he should be able to with that frame, I think you’re looking at an Aldon Smith/DeMarcus Ware-type of player.”