ARIZONA CARDINALS

Early 2021 NFL mock drafts have Cardinals targeting CB, offensive skill

Jan 4, 2021, 9:52 AM

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, left, and general manager Steve Keim  discusses the u...

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, left, and general manager Steve Keim discusses the upcoming NFL football draft during a news conference, Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

No playoffs for the Arizona Cardinals means it’s time to look way too far ahead.

The 8-8 finish on the year slotted Arizona into the 16th overall NFL Draft pick in 2021.

There’s much work to be done for general manager Steve Keim.

The Cardinals offense could lose their starting running back, right side of the offensive line and see Larry Fitzgerald retire. Their defense has holes due to pending free agents at the interior of the line, at inside linebacker and certainly at cornerback.

So trends are already cropping up for Arizona as we peek at 2021 mock drafts. Cornerback, receiver and even running back appear to be favorite picks for mockers selecting for the Cardinals.

Much can change between now and the draft. At the very least, this can help us get acquainted with some first-round talents in the 2021 class.

Pro Football Focus – Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle

Michael Renner: “It truly is a shame we didn’t get to see more of Waddle in this Alabama offense. What he did in his first four games before breaking his ankle was nothing short of special. Waddle was averaging 19.2 yards per target. Not per catch — where he averaged 22.3 yards — but per target. No one could stay with him down the field.”

The Draft Network – South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn

Joe Marino: “Patrick Peterson is a free agent and the team is still searching for the right guy to start next to him anyway, making cornerback the clear top need for Arizona. Horn was sensational in 2020, showcasing the ability to take away the opposing team’s top receiver on a weekly basis in the SEC.”

SB Nation – USC OG Alijah Vera-Tucker

James Dator: “There’s a good chance they go defense here, but we know Arizona is an offensive team first, and that’s where the priority is. Alijah Vera-Tucker will hold the middle, protect Kyler Murray, and solidify the base. This team has sizzle, now this is a beef.”

NBC Sports Bay Area – Clemson RB Travis Etienne

Josh Schrok: “Drafting a running back in Round 1 is frowned upon nowadays, but Etienne would be electric in Arizona’s offense and would allow them to cut bait with Kenyan Drake and his $8 million price tag. Etienne has got great speed and is a home-run threat in both the run and pass game. The Cardinals might look to go tackle here, but I don’t think Kingsbury can pass up Etienne.”

NBC Sports Boston – South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn

Phil Perry: “Son of flip-phone wielding Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee has all kinds of God-given ability. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and unafraid of contact, he looks like the kind of big-bodied corner that defensive coordinator Vance Joseph would love to have at his disposal. With Patrick Peterson getting close to the end, Horn’s addition would be a welcome infusion of youth.”

Pro Football Network – Florida TE Kyle Pitts

Nick Farabaugh: “This is a luxury pick. The Cardinals have defensive needs, but this fit makes too much sense. Kyle Pitts is just a massive receiver masquerading as a tight end. With DeAndre Hopkins already in that offense, Pitts makes this offense absurdly hard to slow down. Pitts can be a Darren Waller-esque player. For a Kliff Kingsbury offense, that would be huge.”

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Early 2021 NFL mock drafts have Cardinals targeting CB, offensive skill