Arizona Cardinals hit WR, CB in Kiper’s 2-round NFL mock draft
Mel Kiper Jr. gets that the Arizona Cardinals need to target a wide receiver in the NFL Draft, so much so that his latest mock for ESPN has the team selecting the fourth WR off his board.
Or maybe it’s that the other position groups atop the Cardinals’ priority list got poached pretty well before Arizona is up at 23rd overall.
A two-round mock released on Wednesday has Arizona snagging Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks with the No. 23 pick and then at 55th overall going with Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary.
Burks can be used in different roles — he even ran 19 routes out of the backfield last season — and will be dynamic after the catch. He will take screens and short passes for scores. For Arizona, this is about helping to replace Christian Kirk and getting some help for an offense that struggled when DeAndre Hopkins went down last season.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Burks will join Hopkins and second-year man Rondale Moore as the team’s top three receivers, and that versatility could give the team options with Burks in 10 personnel (four receivers) or 11 personnel (three receivers).
Even if Arizona leans toward more tight end-heavy sets as their offseason has hinted at, Burks’ skillset makes sense.
Burks made 66 catches for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021 while adding 14 carries for 112 rushing yards and a score on the ground.
He comes off Kiper’s board in this mock draft after receivers Drake London of USC, Chris Olave of Ohio State, Jameson Williams from Alabama and Christian Watson out of North Dakota State.
But other positions like cornerback and edge are also thin by the time the Cardinals pick in the mock.
Four edge rushers (Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Jermaine Johnson II) are gone by the No. 7 pick.
Three cornerbacks (Sauce Gardner, Derek Stingley Jr. and Trent McDuffie) are off the board by Arizona’s selection. And that’s why Kiper has the Cardinals landing one with their second-round pick.
McCreary would join a Cardinals cornerbacks room that includes Byron Murphy, Marco Wilson and Jeff Gladney.
McCreary is fundamentally sound and advanced in his technique, but he’s undersized (5-foot-11) with short arms. He’s also not as explosive as a few other corners in this class. Still, he has some great tape, and I don’t think he’ll drop past Round 3, because he could be a great nickel corner. Arizona has to add quality depth in the secondary.
McCreary posted 49 tackles, 14 passes defensed and two interceptions last season.