CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals make 2 trades, add 3 prospects in latest Lance Zierlein mock NFL Draft

Apr 2, 2024, 4:04 PM

Dallas Turner reacts to a play...

Dallas Turner #15 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a sack against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals need a No. 1 wide receiver. For most people, that need gets addressed this NFL Draft with the Cardinals adding one of Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze or Malik Nabers with the No. 4 overall pick.

That is unless you’re NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein, who has the Cardinals moving up and down the draft board in his latest mock draft published Tuesday.

It all starts with a trade with the Minnesota Vikings, who get their franchise quarterback in Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, while general manager Monti Ossenfort gets more draft capital to work with.

In the wake of the Giants vaulting into the No. 3 spot for a quarterback, the Vikings are still able to move up for a signal-caller of their own by giving the Cardinals Pick Nos. 11 and 23. McCarthy should pair nicely with Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota.

And with Arizona out of the running for the top trio of pass catchers this draft, Ossenfort instead turns his attention to the defense and Alabama pass rusher Dallas Turner with the 11th pick.

Turner is coming off 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss across 14 games played in 2023. He also showed out at the NFL Draft Combine behind a 4.47-second 40-yard dash time and a 40.5-inch vertical.

Adding a talent like Turner could go a long way in improving Arizona’s pass-rushing department. Last season, the Cardinals registered the third fewest sacks (33) last season. Only the Chicago Bears (30) and Carolina Panthers (27) were worst.

But don’t fret, Cardinals fans. Zierlein still has Arizona addressing the wide receiver position in the first round, although it comes in a trade with NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks.

Using the No. 23 pick acquired in the trade with Minnesota in a trade package with Seattle, Arizona moves back up to into the top 20 and nabs LSU’s Brian Thomas.

While Nabers has gotten a lot of the publicity out of LSU, the 6-foot-5, 198-pound Thomas paced the FBS with 17 touchdowns to go along with 68 receptions and 1,177 receiving yards in 13 games played last year.

Rounding out Arizona’s busy draft is another Alabama defender in cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry at No. 27.

As Zierlein mentioned, McKinstry gives Arizona a “steady cornerback with good size and athleticism” and is coming off 32 tackles and seven passes defensed across 14 games last season.

Arizona was one of the worst teams against the pass last year, allowing the third-most touchdowns (32) to opposing offenses and the second-highest passer rating (102.9) in the league.

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