ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN’s Kiper and McShay project different players for Cardinals in first two rounds

Apr 5, 2017, 9:23 AM | Updated: 12:32 pm
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The NFL Draft is a little more than three weeks away and the mocks continue to pour in.

Two of the premier draft analysts in the business, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN, have collaborated on a dual mock draft, and they’re not quite in agreement in what they project for the Arizona Cardinals.

Both experts have the Cardinals selecting a quarterback with the 13th selection in the first round. However, they differ on the player.

Kiper has the Cardinals tabbing Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes in that slot, different from the QB projected there in his last mock draft.

I had Watson here in Mock 3.0, and I’m sticking with a quarterback. This time it’s the toolsy Mahomes, who is extremely raw but has undeniable arm talent. He was among my top risers after the combine, and I’ve moved him up to my No. 3 quarterback. In Arizona, he’d be able to sit behind Carson Palmer and continue his development. Mahomes needs at least one redshirt year.

The Cardinals held a private workout with Mahomes, who has arguably the best arm talent of any quarterback in this year’s class.

McShay has the Cardinals looking toward the ACC and North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky as their signal caller of the future.

It’s a little early for Mahomes, Mel, but you’re right about one thing: The Cardinals need to start planning for life without Palmer. Trubisky has the natural accuracy and pocket mobility to develop into a quality starter. If neither of the top-two QBs (Watson or Trubisky) are available, I could see Arizona nabbing Alabama ILB Reuben Foster.

Interestingly enough, both analysts have Arizona picking a cornerback, another area of team need, in the second round of their two-round projection.

Kiper has them picking Michigan’s Jourdan Lewis.

The Cardinals are still searching for a corner opposite Patrick Peterson. Brandon Williams, last year’s third-round pick, was benched early and started only three games. Lewis isn’t big (5-10, 188), but he was productive for the Wolverines. He pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence last month.

While Kiper has them nabbing USC’s do-everything talent Adoree’ Jackson.

As Mel mentioned, Jackson has a chance to have a Tyreek Hill-level impact as a returner early in his career. His technique in coverage still needs polishing, but he has elite ball skills and the versatility to make an impact in a number of ways (including on offense).

The NFL Draft gets underway Thursday, April 27 in Philadelphia. The Cardinals own eight selections during the three-day event.

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