ARIZONA CARDINALS

ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Potential QB run could help Cardinals in NFL Draft

Mar 3, 2020, 10:23 AM
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love works out at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. ...
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love works out at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. After turning heads last month at the Senior Bowl, Love delivered with another impressive workout Thursday. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Two things happened at the NFL Draft Combine that could benefit the Arizona Cardinals.

For one, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons excelled, further proving that he could end up being a top-five pick rather than a top-10 pick because of his 6-foot-4, 238-pound frame and accompanying athleticism.

The other riser was Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, who is now in the QB mix with LSU’s Joe Burrow, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

Those two things could potentially open opportunities for the Cardinals.

“I think one of those quarterbacks, maybe Herbert or Love, or maybe both, jump in there with Tua and Burrow,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper told Doug & Wolf of Arizona Sports. “Could be four (taken) inside the top eight. If that happens, it helps Arizona.”

Kiper, in fact, could owe ESPN colleague Todd McShay a $5,000 donation to the V Foundation if Love is off the board before Herbert. McShay believes Love did enough to warrant a high draft pick and in his latest prediction mock draft has the Los Angeles Chargers taking the Utah State signal-caller at No. 6.

It appears certain the Cincinnati Bengals will take a quarterback — likely Burrow — with the top pick to kick off the draft. The Miami Dolphins at No. 5 are likely to select a quarterback as well. Even if the QB-needy Chargers go with a quarterback, perhaps the fourth player remaining on the board at No. 8 will give Arizona a chance to dangle its first-round choice to move back and acquire more assets.

That or the Cardinals would have a number of enticing options still available. It’s possible they could have Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown or a trio of top offensive tackles still on the board.

“The offensive line is iffy because there’s really not an elite guy even though they tested well,” Kiper said. “There’s a lot of mixed opinion on those guys.”

“For the Cardinals, it’s which lineman do they like? Which lineman is there? It could be (Mekhi) Becton from Louisville, it could be (Tristan) Wirfs from Iowa, it could be (Jedrick) Wills from Alabama.”

There’s even the possibility that Simmons could be had at No. 8.

His positional versatility could potentially harm his stock if teams worry about how to develop and integrate him into their specific schemes.

“Simmons was (projected) at nine, now he’s at four (to the New York Giants) for some, but that’s not a guarantee because four could be traded,” Kiper told Doug & Wolf. “I think there could be a drop down (by New York) to get one of those linemen.

“Simmons is a wild card. We don’t know where Simmons is going to go because I talked to some NFL people … They know he’s going to be really good and they know he can cover but ‘Where do we play him? How do we incorporate a guy like that into our defense?’ That’s going to be interesting to see how that evolves.”

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ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Potential QB run could help Cardinals in NFL Draft