The 5: Players the Cardinals could trade down for in 2020 NFL Draft
With the No. 8 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals could have the opportunity to trade down and gain extra picks.
The Atlanta Falcons in particular have expressed interest in trading for the pick, according to multiple reports.
If the Cardinals do trade down to the middle of the first round, they still have strong options on both sides of the ball.
Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro wrote that the Cardinals have particular interest in cornerback C.J. Henderson, edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, safety Xavier McKinney, linebacker Kenneth Murray and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy should they trade down.
C.J. Henderson, cornerback, Florida
While Jeff Okudah is widely viewed as the top cornerback in the class, it’s reportedly not a consensus. NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein tweeted that Okudah doesn’t have a “clean sweep” over Henderson on every team’s draft board.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Henderson covers “as well as anyone,” though he’s not as good a tackler as Okudah.
In nine games this season, Henderson had 32 tackles, 11 pass breakups and a sack. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe and Lombardi awards.
There’s a high chance Henderson will not be available by Atlanta’s No. 16 pick, but if the Cardinals could move down a handful of spots and recoup a second-rounder while securing Henderson, would they do it?
K’Lavon Chaisson, edge rusher, LSU
Chaisson bounced back from his 2018 torn ACL to record a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and 60 total tackles for the national champion LSU Tigers.
Listed as 6-foot-3, 253 pounds, Chaisson is fast and athletic. Pro Football Focus said he’s a speedy bull rusher, but his short wingspan isn’t ideal for a player of his position. As the Cardinals showed with Kyler Murray, though, unfavorable sizes isn’t a deal-breaker for the team. The NFL’s sack leader in 2019, Shaquil Barrett, had 19.5 sacks last year despite his 32 1/4 arm length, the same size as Chaisson’s.
Xavier McKinney, safety, Alabama
McKinney, the Defensive MVP of the Orange Bowl, had 95 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He had four forced fumbles, three interceptions and broke up five passes. He also blocked a kick.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper called him the best pure safety in this draft and McKinney should be able to make an impact on defense or special teams early.
Yet there’s a wide range of where McKinney will fall in the draft. Kiper predicted he will go at No. 17 and NFL Network’s Peter Schrager has him at No. 18, but USA TODAY’s Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah don’t even have McKinney going in the first round.
Kenneth Murray, linebacker, Oklahoma
Murray showed improvement year after year with the Sooners. In three seasons with Oklahoma (40 games), Murray accumulated 325 tackles, 36.5 for loss, 9.5 sacks, six pass deflections and a forced fumble.
As a junior, he recorded a career-high 17.0 tackles for loss and four passes defended to go with 4.0 sacks and 102 tackles.
Murray’s efforts earned him Third Team AP All-America and First Team All-Big 12 honors.
Murray is considered the fourth-best linebacker in the draft, according to the NFL Network’s prospect rankings. He posted a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and tied for fifth among participating linebackers in the bench press portion (21).
Drafting him would give Arizona depth at linebacker behind veterans Jordan Hicks and De’Vondre Campbell.
Jerry Jeudy, wide receiver, Alabama
Last season, Jeudy posted 77 receptions, 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. It marked his second dominant season in a row after a sophomore campaign of 68 receptions, 1,315 yards and 10 scores.
The 6-foot-1, 193-pound pass catcher is considered one of the top — if not the best — prototypical wide receiver in the draft. Jeudy is graded highly for his route running ability, which is endlessly praised in draft circles, and showed he could move downfield with a 4.45 40-yard dash time at the 2020 NFL Combine.
Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb and Jeudy are regarded as the two best receiver prospects in the draft.