Cardinals land surprising pass rusher in 1st round in new 3-round mock draft

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The Arizona Cardinals see their top three needs as pass rusher, receiver and cornerback. Most mock drafts up until now have focused on those positions. This latest three-round mock draft from Draft Wire managing editor Luke Easterling does as well, but the pick in the first round is a bit of a surprise.

They land a pass rusher but it is not who you might expect. They also land an offensive lineman and get a receiver, but not until the third round.

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Round 1: Penn State EDGE Arnold Ebiketie

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It would not be a surprise to see the Cardinals select a pass rusher in Round 1. Picking Ebiketie over George Karlaftis would be, though.

While Kyler Murray’s contract situation steals the headlines, the Cardinals head into the draft with quite a few needs on both sides of the ball. After losing Chandler Jones, though, the most glaring is the absence of an elite edge rusher, something Ebiketie could quickly become.

Ebiketie does not have ideal height at 6-2, he does have extremely long arms and elite athleticism. He ran the 40 at his pro day in 4.65 seconds, his three-cone was 6.95 seconds, which is elite change of direction ability, especially at his size. With a vertical leap of 38 inches and a broad jump of 10-8, he is explosive. He had 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss last season for Penn State.

Round 2: Washington State OT Abraham Lucas

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Taking a tackle in the second round might seem odd, but both D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum will be free agents in 2023. Lucas is long and athletic, a former basketball player.

Round 3: Boise State WR Khalil Shakir

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Cardinals fans would not want the team to wait until the third round to get a receiver, but Shakir has promise. He had big production last season, catching 77 passes for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021 for the Broncos.

He is 6-0 with 4.43 speed. He is a high-character player and relentless on the field.

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