New post-free agency TD Wire mock draft gives Cardinals CB

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Jess Root
·2 min read
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We are one week into NFL free agency and teams have addressed many of their needs already, which will naturally affect the approach they take in the NFL draft next month.

As such, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar has a new mock draft with free agency in mind. It also has some chaos, as there are both trades of quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson. Wilson heads to the Miami Dolphins and Watson goes to the New York Jets.

However, for the Arizona Cardinals, not much changes. Since they have not addressed the cornerback position in free agency, they have to do so in the draft. So Farrar’s pick for the Cardinals with the 16th overall pick is a common one — South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.

The Cardinals haven’t made the playoffs since the 2015 season when Bruce Arians was their head coach, Carson Palmer was their quarterback, and both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown (remember him?) were posting 1,000-yard seasons. This was also an era in which the Cardinals had Patrick Peterson playing at a Hall of Fame clip, and a certain Pro Bowl/All-Pro safety named Tyrann Mathieu. This is worth mentioning because in 2020, the 8-8 Cardinals had a pass defense that allowed 26 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions. Peterson is now a member of the Vikings’ defense on a one-year deal, and Arizona’s primary cornerback on the roster is Byron Murphy, who has allowed 12 touchdowns to just one interception in his two seasons.

The Cardinals were particularly susceptible to opposing offenses in 2020 when they played man coverage, allowing 16 touchdowns to five interceptions, and that’s where Horn comes in. Because only the Saints played more man coverage than the Cardinals. A malevolent press cornerback with a wolverine’s mentality on the field, Horn may be a bit to grabby for the NFL’s taste to start (he’s going to rack up some penalties), but he’s also proven to be dominant in man coverage, allowing just three receptions on 15 targets for 24 yards in Cover-0, Cover-1, and 2-Man. Unless Vance Joseph wants to switch up his defensive mindset, Horn is the perfect fit for what he is trying to accomplish — a blitz-heavy, man-heavy defense.

Horn does appear to fit what the Cardinals want to do defensively. However, is it going to be this obvious?

The Cardinals never like to be stuck in a scenario where they have to draft a specific position and that is how they look right now.

Maybe something will change, but without any other moves, this will continue to be a logical selection in all mock drafts moving forward.

List

2021 Cardinals free agent tracker: Additions, departures, re-signings, tenders, trades

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