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PFF mock draft: Cardinals target Surtain, Eichenberg in 1st 2 rounds

Patrick Surtain II #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after intercepting a pass intended for Austin Shaw #13 of the New Mexico State Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals have quite a few decisions to make regarding what they should do in the 2021 NFL Draft.

With two selections in the first 49 picks, Arizona has the potential to add a couple of players that can make an impact right away.

In the latest Pro Football Focus mock draft of the first two rounds, the Cardinals find a new face for the secondary and a big body along the offensive line.

Coming in at No. 16 is Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who would provide Arizona with an automatic boost in the CB department.

Despite being tasked with playing on an island more than any cornerback in the country, Surtain came in at No. 1 at his position in PFF grade this year (89.7). He allowed less than 15 yards in coverage in exactly half of his games played, and he never allowed any more than 60 in one outing. Perhaps the most underappreciated aspect of Surtain’s game this past year was his discipline, as didn’t draw a single penalty. Surtain has the size, physicality and press skills that teams covet in the NFL.

Surtain recorded 117 tackles and four interceptions during his three-year career at Alabama.

As a junior in 2020, the CB registered 32 tackles, an interception (returned for a touchdown), 10 passes defensed (career high) and a fumble recovery.

While they focused on defense in the first round, PFF has the Cardinals flipping the switch in the second with the selection of Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenberg at No. 49.

From a technical standpoint, Eichenberg is as polished as they come — that’s the key reason why he logged an 89.9 PFF grade in 2020. If we take out his Week 6 performance against Florida State when he played with a swollen-shut left eye, and Eichenberg is one of the few tackles to earn a grade above 87.0 as both a pass- and run-blocker. He’ll be available in Round 2 because the athleticism is nowhere near some of the other tackles in this class, but he is bound to have NFL success thanks to how advanced he is.

Arizona has some decisions to make regarding the offensive line in 2021. Starting right tackle Kelvin Beachum is set to hit free agency in March, as are right guards J.R. Sweezy and Max Garcia.

Right tackle Marcus Gilbert returns to the organization after opting out of last season due to COVID-19 concern, but hasn’t played since 2018.

Adding a player like Eichenberg through the draft at the very least gives Arizona another option at the position.


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