Cardinals take OL Johnson, beef up defense in NFL.com’s 4-round mock draft
With the 2022 NFL Draft officially less than a month away, the speculation and rumors surrounding teams and draft picks is in full force.
For the Arizona Cardinals, they enter the draft having no shortage of options to turn to in the early rounds with multiple positions of need to address.
The Cardinals could be looking to address depth at cornerback, defensive line, offensive line and wide receiver among other positions.
Chad Reuter’s latest four-round mock draft for NFL.com has the Cardinals addressing those positions in the first three rounds, including taking offensive guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College with the No. 23 overall pick.
Johnson, the 6-foot-3, 312-pound lineman, was a two-time captain during his time at Boston College. He primarily played guard in college and that’s where he projects in the pros, but he’s shown the ability to play across the offensive line registering snaps at tackle and center.
Zion Johnson is a card-carrying member of the Glass Eaters. This guy looks to establish a physical brand of football by plowing every single defender into the ground. pic.twitter.com/HokxpRLbvJ
— Mike (@bengals_sans) March 28, 2022
Reuter’s prediction of the Cardinals selecting Johnson did come days before the team signed fellow offensive guard Will Hernandez in free agency on Monday.
However, that shouldn’t completely rule out any interest from Arizona in Johnson, as the lineman has shown he can play multiple positions which would help address the Cardinals’ depth along the offensive line.
Next for the Cardinals at pick No. 55, Reuter has the Cardinals beefing up the secondary with the selection of Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam.
Elam, a lengthy corner with 4.4 speed, was a three-year starter during his time at Florida and is projected to be either a late first-round or second-round selection.
Florida Gators CB Kaiir Elam is ZOOMIN’ through the W drill 💨
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 28, 2022
In 35 career games in college, Elam had six interceptions to go with 26 pass breakups.
With Reuter having the Cardinals address the offensive line in Round 1, they check off another need in Round 2 with the selection of Elam who enters a relatively thin cornerback room.
Currently not having a draft pick in the fourth round, Reuter’s mock for the Cardinals ends at No. 87 with the selection of edge DeAngelo Malone from Western Kentucky.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive lineman was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year after tallying nine sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in the 2021 season.
Malone’s standout season earned him an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl where a strong week of practice elevated his draft status.
Western Kentucky's Deangelo Malone is another mid-round EDGE that I really like. A bit of a 'bouncy' pass-rusher who needs to tighten up his rush angles and plan, but he displays impressive cornering ability and closing speed to go with some adept hand-fighting technique. pic.twitter.com/nS2knqbakQ
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) March 25, 2022