ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals go defense-heavy in The Athletic’s 7-round NFL mock draft

Apr 15, 2020, 7:29 AM | Updated: 11:40 am
Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown listens during a press conference at the NFL football scouti...
Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown listens during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

The Arizona Cardinals possess six picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, leaving many to wonder how the team will divvy up the selections in mock drafts.

While some have focused heavily on the team’s first-round pick, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler took things to another level, going the full seven rounds of the upcoming draft.

In the mock, the Cardinals lean heavily on the defensive side of the football, while adding some depth to two positions on offense.

Leading the pack of the team’s six picks in the draft is Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown at No. 8.

There is a good chance this pick comes down to the trenches, either offensive or defensive line. And while I think upgrading the right tackle spot should be the priority, the Cardinals have been searching for that hog molly on the defensive line who can help reset the line of scrimmage.

In four seasons (46 games) with the Tigers, Brown recorded 170 tackles, 33.5 for loss, 12.5 sacks, eight pass deflections and five forced fumbles.

Brown saw his numbers increase during his collegiate career, posting four sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and 54 tackles, 11.5 for loss.

At 6-foot-5 and 316 pounds, Brown would give the Cardinals a big body on the defensive line to pair with Corey Peters and free-agent addition Jordan Phillips in the interior.

With Arizona’s second-round pick headed to Houston as part of the DeAndre Hopkins-for-David Johnson trade, the Cardinals don’t draft again until the third round.

Looking to add to the running back room after Johnson’s departure, Brugler has the Cardinals selecting Florida State RB Cam Akers with the 72nd pick of the draft.

Last season as a junior, Akers rushed for 1,144 yards and 14 scores on 231 carries (5.0 yards per attempt). He also saw an uptick as a pass rusher, catching 30 balls for 225 yards and four touchdowns.

He had six games of at least 100 yards on the ground and scored at least a touchdown in every game this season. Akers’ best game came against Syracuse, where he rushed for four touchdowns and 144 yards on 20 attempts (7.2 yards per carry). The year marked his second season of over 1,000 rushing yards and at least eight total scores.

As it stands, the Cardinals have Kenyan Drake, Chase Edmonds and D.J. Foster on the depth chart, giving the team a sort of security blanket in Akers.

Moving on to the fourth round, the Cardinals have two picks at their disposal, their own and one they acquired in the Hopkins deal from the Houston Texans. Brugler has the team looking at both sides of the football in this round, going with Washington tight end Hunter Bryant (pick No. 114) and Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia (pick No. 131).

Bryant saw his best season in 2019, making 52 receptions for 825 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games, all career highs. He had at least 80 yards in six games last year with two games over the 100-yard mark.

Ojemudia disrupted opposing quarterbacks last season, making nine passes defensed, three interceptions, a fumble recovery and 52 tackles in 12 games. It was the second straight season of three picks and six pass deflections for the corner.

The team’s final two selections in the draft, a sixth- and seventh-round pick, the Cardinals double down on defense, adding North Carolina State edge rusher James Smith-Williams and Penn State linebacker Cam Brown.

The Wolfpack defensive end made 20 tackles and a sack in 2019, down from his six-sack and 36-tackle performance from a season prior. Brown set a career high in tackles (72), tied a career best in sacks (2) and made four pass deflections.

Life Changer Loans
Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown listens during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/AJ Mast) Florida State running back Cam Akers speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) University of Washington tight end Hunter Bryant speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Iowa defensive back Michael Ojemudia runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) West quarterback Mason Fine, of North Texas, (6) loses the football after getting hit by East defensive end James Smith-Williams, of North Carolina State, (91) during the second half of the East West Shrine football game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Smith-Williams was called for a facemask penalty. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 29: Linebacker Cam Brown of Penn State runs the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 29, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Out of office: Arizona Cardinals embark on bye week later than most

After 12 weeks of ups and downs, the Arizona Cardinals get a reprieve from all the minutia that comes with the NFL schedule.
1 day ago
Safety Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts to a fumble recovery against the Los Angeles ...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Cardinals’ Budda Baker leading NFC Pro Bowl voting at SS

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker could be well on his way to his fourth straight Pro Bowl in 2023.
1 day ago
Andre Baccellia #82 of the Arizona Cardinals participates in drills during Training Camp at State F...
Kellan Olson

Arizona Cardinals release wide receiver Andre Baccellia

The Arizona Cardinals announced on Monday they have released wide receiver Andre Baccellia.
1 day ago
Wide receiver Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for the snap during the second ha...
Tyler Drake

Pitch count? Hollywood Brown plays nearly every snap vs. Chargers

Hollywood Brown went from being on a snap count to leading all Cardinals wide receivers in the category in Week 12.
1 day ago
Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries #74 of the Arizona Cardinals is introduced during the NFL game at S...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals LT D.J. Humphries out for rest of season with back injury

Arizona Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries will not play for the final five games of the regular season due to a back injury.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

James Conner’s big day can’t make up for Cardinals’ lack of finish vs. L.A.

James Conner's impressive showing on Sunday was not enough to make up for the Cardinals' miscues in their loss to the Chargers.
1 day ago
Cardinals go defense-heavy in The Athletic’s 7-round NFL mock draft