Whether you love him or hate him, ESPN’s Mel Kiper is still one of the foremost authorities on the NFL Draft.
He’s one of the few afforded the time and ability to go in-depth about each team’s needs and wants heading into draft day, and this year is no exception. ESPN on Monday released an insider article that Kiper put together on each NFL team’s top four needs, and here’s what the draft guru had to say about the Arizona Cardinals:
Outside linebacker: John Abraham may be sacking quarterbacks in 2030, but let’s bet the under for now given he’ll be 36 in May. I think the Cardinals should take a look at a pass-rushing option in one of the first two rounds. I love having some athleticism off the edge when facing Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick four times a season.
Safety: Even if they use Tyrann Mathieu in a safety-type role — “safety” is a hybrid designation in many cases — they could still use another piece at this position. And Mathieu will be coming back from a serious ACL injury.
Wide receiver: You can do a lot worse than a top two of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, but Ted Ginn is arguably the No. 3 at this point after the departure of Andre Roberts, and the Cardinals could use another dependable target either here or at tight end.
Quarterback: Carson Palmer will turn 35 late in the 2014 season, and the depth chart behind him is pretty uninspiring. It’d be good to have a developmental option with at least the ceiling of a quality starter behind Palmer, and I don’t think there’s one on the current roster.
The Cardinals have been linked to a number of players that would bolster their defensive backfield, and their need at quarterback has been well-documented over the past several years — even with the acquisition of Carson Palmer.
So while none of that is breaking news, there seems to be a general consensus of where the Cardinals should focus their efforts come May 8.