Cardinals 2021 NFL mock draft 3.0

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Sam Dehring
·5 min read
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The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the most active teams so far this offseason in free agency, from bolstering their presence off the edge with J.J. Watt to bringing in another veteran weapon for Kyler Murray in A.J. Green. On top of that, they also added center Rodney Hudson in a swap of draft picks.

With six total picks in next month’s draft, the Cardinals still have a decent amount of draft capital and they could approach this draft in several ways.

Here is the third edition of the Cardinals’ seven-round projection-based mock draft.


Round 1: Florida TE Kyle Pitts

Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsThe Cardinals need a true tight end and Pitts would be just the guy for that job. They don’t really have any jaw-dropping players at this position on their roster. The Cardinals have Maxx Williams until 2022, but he isn’t a stud of a tight end. However, Pitts does struggle as an efficient blocker at times, and that is where Williams excels. Pitts has been flying up the draft boards all season from his elite performance at Florida. He possesses everything NFL teams are looking for in a tight end and has proven to be productive as a receiver. Even though the Cardinals signed A,J. Green, there is not a ton of reliability in their wide receiver room outside of him and Hopkins. Pitts’ versatility is a trait that NFL teams will fall in love with, especially the Cardinals, giving Murray another weapon that is a force to be reckoned with.

Round 2: North Carolina RB Javonte Williams

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With just one Day 2 pick, the Cardinals should address the running back position. The North Carolina offense was extremely underrated this past season and should have gotten more attention with the talent it had. One of those players that took the blew up this season was running back Javonte Williams. Some even have him as the second-best running back in the draft. Williams was utilized much more in the passing game at UNC in 2020 and his stats show that he is capable of being a potential future NFL starting running back. Chase Edmonds has certainly made a case to be considered for the Cardinals’ starting running back job in 2021. However, they still lack depth in their backfield and an Edmonds/Williams duo would be very fun to watch.

Round 5: Michigan CB Ambry Thomas

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The Cardinals did just sign Malcolm Butler to be their No. 1 cornerback, but drafting one at the position still make sense because, one, they still lack depth and two, Butler is only on a one-year deal. Thomas would benefit a lot from being a rotational player his first year and working his way into a starting corner. He has steady play and plays with a high motor. He has elite vision and has gone up against some elite talent in the Big Ten. He did opt out of the season, which might affect his draft stock a bit because of his limited elite tape to show. Thomas does need to polish up areas of his game like his tackling. However, he has tremendous upside and would be a really nice addition to the Cardinals' secondary, even as a potential starter.

Round 6: Wisconsin OT Cole Van Lanen

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The Cardinals lack depth on their offensive line. Van Lanen is a bit of a project, but he is very explosive off of the ball and has a tremendous amount of upper body power. The Wisconsin Badgers breed offensive line talent, and there is no better school to look at in the later rounds than Wisconsin, or OLU. They drafted Josh Jones out of Houston last year, who flew up the draft boards. Van Lanen is a depth piece to that struggling offensive line. If he is developed right, Van Lanen could have a productive career in the NFL.

Round 7: USC WR Tyler Vaughns

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of Hopkins and Green, there isn’t a lot of consistency or reliability for their third option. We have seen flashes out of players like Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk. However, neither has quite lived up to their potential just yet. Tyler Vaughns is a very crisp route runner who has been consistent throughout his time at USC. He doesn’t have elite speed, but his impressive hands make up for it. He is 23, and by the time week one starts, he will already be 24, which might pose a bit of a concern for some teams. Vaughns would be another depth piece and can bring some competition to that wide receiver room for the Cardinals.

Round 7: Florida DL Tedarrell Slaton

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The Cardinals lack depth on their defensive line. Slaton would be a nice player you can groom into a rotational player. If you are looking for a run stuffer, Slaton isn't your guy. However, you will see a lot bull rushing from him, which is where he excels. Slaton has a few promising traits that could be successful at the next level, including his bull rush and upper body strength who moves very well for his size, standing at 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds. He will be a project, but one that could develop into a nice rotational piece for the Cardinals. The Cardinals are continuing to build their team towards playoff contention and competing for the NFC West in 2021. They have done all the right things so far this offseason. With limited picks the first two days of the draft, the Cardinals hope to bank on some gems to help boost their chances of not only making the playoffs next season, but potentially competing to the divisional title. The Rams made a quarterback upgrade by trading for former Lions QB Matthew Stafford while the 49ers are getting all of their players back fully healthy. The NFC West is wide open and the Cardinals certainly have the talent to give other divisional rivals a run for their money, especially with what they have done this offseason and what they can potentially do in the draft next month. Listen to the latest from Cards Wire's Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Latest show:

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