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Do Cardinals need an OT? McShay’s NFL mock draft, Nagy disagree

L-R: Iowa OL Tristan Wirfs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images); South Carolina DL Javon Kinlaw (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images); Alabama WR Henry Ruggs III (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Jim Nagy saw first-hand the build-up of South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw’s draft stock.

Nagy is the executive director of the Senior Bowl, and Kinlaw excelled playing in the scouting event in Mobile, Ala., back in January.

Kinlaw’s rise could make him an stretch of a top-10 pick, and for an Arizona Cardinals team drafting eighth overall and in need of interior line additions, his likely availability at that slot brings up a question about their specific needs. Do the Cardinals really need to draft a starting offensive tackle as most mock drafts project?

Or can general manager Steve Keim go after a potential star at another position, putting his trust in the returning right tackles Justin Murray and Marcus Gilbert to be healthy and productive in 2020?

ESPN’s Todd McShay’s post-free agency prediction NFL mock draft indicates he’s not so sure about the current right tackle position. He has Arizona drafting Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs with the No. 8 pick.

Wide receiver had long been discussed here, but the addition of DeAndre Hopkins makes protecting quarterback Kyler Murray the key priority for this pick. The Cardinals just can’t allow Murray to be sacked as much as he was last season (50), and Wirfs is an extremely athletic big man with great potential.

The Cardinals’ returning offensive linemen might disagree with that assessment. They remained maligned for high sack totals in 2019 that were as much on Kyler Murray as they were on the protection in front of him. Likewise, Nagy disagrees with McShay’s need-over-best-player strategy for Arizona.

“Wirfs is a good prospect but if you passed on all those names that you just mentioned, you’d clearly be trying to address best need than best player,” Nagy said Tuesday when he joined Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports.

Nagy believes the Cardinals need to think more out-of-the-box.

That could be do-it-all defender Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson. Nagy likened a Simmons pick to drafting multiple players, but Simmons is unlikely to be on the board when the Cardinals draft.

More realistically, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs and Kinlaw would be better picks than Wirfs, Nagy said.

“I would love the Ruggs pick. And then the two defensive linemen you mentioned: Derrick Brown from Auburn and Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina,” Nagy added.

Ruggs ran a 4.25-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but Nagy thinks scouts might be sleeping on his all-around skills and hard-hat mentality. Nagy thinks the Crimson Tide receiver is the best at his position in this draft class, ahead of Alabama teammate Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.

Brown (55 tackles, 4.0 sacks, two forced fumbles) is a nimble 318-pound tackle, while Kinlaw (35 tackles, 6.0 sacks) is a more raw prospect in a similar mold.

“I was at the South Carolina-Alabama game this year, and Kinlaw was unblockable and Alabama has a really good offensive line,” Nagy said.

“Derrick Brown has as dominant a year of any interior defensive lineman, probably since (Nebraska’s Ndamukong) Suh. The difference between those two guys … Brown plays hard every single game. You put in every game, they all look the same. He’s got a great motor. That doesn’t happen with most big men. Those guys are so hard to find.”


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