NFL mock drafts: Cardinals move up order, OT remains priority

Dec 4, 2019, 9:05 AM | Updated: 9:12 am
Offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs #74 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates with teammates after their matc...
Offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs #74 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates with teammates after their match-up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on November 23, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

Just a month back, the Arizona Cardinals were 3-5-1, a record that slotted them to draft 11th if the 2020 NFL Draft were that day. Three more losses since have moved Arizona up the draft order.

After a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the Cardinals (3-8-1) are now seventh in the current order. Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner doesn’t believe the new positioning changes anything about Arizona’s priorities.

He released the third version of PFF’s 2020 NFL mock draft on Tuesday and remains steadfast that the Cardinals really need to protect quarterback Kyler Murray.

Renner has the Cardinals drafting Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs at No. 7 overall. That reflects a change in what the writer views as the offensive tackle pecking order.

In his Nov. 6 mock draft, Renner had Arizona selecting Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood ahead of Wirfs.

Any offensive lineman will do here for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. I particularly like the Wirfs fit because, with Murray’s mobility, defenses often choose to bull-rush their ends to keep contain. The Iowa right tackle has as strong of an anchor as you’ll ever see from a true junior and is unlikely to cede much ground into the pocket against a bull-rush.

Wirfs is the second offensive tackle off the board after Andrew Thomas of Georgia, who is the third overall pick to the Washington Redskins in PFF’s 3.0 mock.

With regard to the Cardinals, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler agrees with Renner in his first mock draft for the 2020 draft. He also has Arizona selecting Wirfs seventh.

With a pair of tight ends drafted in the first-round last year, Iowa did something never before done in the NFL. Yet the program has never produced multiple top-10 draft picks, although that has a chance to change in April. Wirfs rarely loses his balance and stays sound with his hand tactics to handle edge rushers.

Leatherwood’s stock is also rising, however, as Renner has him going ninth to the New York Jets. Alabama teammate Jedrick Wills is also a top-10 selection, off the board in Renner’s mock at No. 10 to the Los Angeles Chargers.

Notably, Brugler has Wills coming off the board ahead of Wirfs. He has Washington taking Wills over Thomas at No. 3 and the Jets grabbing Thomas ninth, after Arizona drafts Wirfs.

Renner and Brugler appear notably higher on the offensive tackle draft class than ESPN’s duo of draft analysts — or at least they see teams going with need more than sticking to a big board.

Mel Kiper Jr. has the first tackle on his big board, Thomas, ranked ninth in the draft class, while McShay has the Georgia Bulldog 11th overall in his rankings. McShay doesn’t even have another offensive tackle among his best 32 players, while Kiper ranks Wirfs 22nd on his big board.


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