Arizona Cardinals go defense-heavy in Reid’s 7-round mock draft for ESPN
After watching their defense wrap up an inconsistent 2021 that ended in a 4-6 finish and an ugly NFC Wild Card round exit, the Arizona Cardinals are in need of some new blood.
Taking that into account, ESPN analyst Jordan Reid has the Cardinals addressing a number of those defensive holes in his seven-round mock draft released Monday.
It all starts with Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt at No. 23 for Arizona.
In need of help along the defensive line as well as at cornerback, the Cardinals have to get players who can create pressure on passers. Wyatt was somewhat of an unsung hero on Georgia’s talented defensive front, and his stock has skyrocketed since the conclusion of the season.
Arizona’s defensive line could use some reinforcements after an injury-riddled 2021, headlined by J.J. Watt’s 10-game absence with a shoulder injury, and Corey Peters now a free agent. Outside of Watt, the Cardinals’ defensive line includes Zach Allen, Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence, Michael Dogbe, Matt Dickerson and Jonathan Ledbetter.
Adding to Arizona’s defense didn’t stop there for Reid, who proceeded to add Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary in the second round (pick No. 55) and South Carolina outside linebacker/defensive end Kingsley Enagbare in the third (pick No. 87).
Though Reid hits on McCreary’s size potentially limiting him to a slot role, the analyst feels Arizona must continue to add to the secondary. He also believes Enagbare has the strength to see playing time early on in his NFL career.
With Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson the lone returning corners who played meaningful snaps last season, and pass rusher Chandler Jones off to Las Vegas, adding more depth to the positions is key this offseason.
The Cardinals finally dip their toes into the offensive side of things in the sixth round, taking Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams at No. 201 and Georgia guard Justin Shaffer at No. 215. Williams is coming off a 1,000-yard, 14-touchdown season on the ground. He chipped in 359 receiving yards and three more scores on 42 catches.
As of Tuesday, Arizona’s running back room includes James Conner, Eno Benjamin, Jonathan Ward and Jaylen Samuels.
Reid then used Arizona’s three seventh-round picks on Kansas edge Kyron Johnson (No. 244), Texas A&M tight end Jalen Wydermyer (No. 256) and Auburn safety Zakoby McClain (No. 257).
Out of all the seventh-round selections (41 picks), Reid labeled Johnson as his favorite prospect-team fit.
He wasn’t invited to the combine, but his Senior Bowl week performance and testing numbers at his pro day made many scouts go back to watch his tape again. At his pro day, he ran an official 4.40 40, had a 39.5-inch vertical and 10-foot broad jump, all at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds. Those are the types of measurables that get picked late in the draft.