Story by Bruce Cooper
The NFL draft is less than a month away and the Cardinals most glaring needs come at the positions of wide receiver and edge rusher. The Cardinals have done very little in terms of impacting their roster with outside free agents. In fact, they have signed only three such players (CB-Jeff Gladney, LB-Nick Vigil and OG-Will Hernandez).
General manager, Steve Keim, appears to be playing it safe, perhaps afraid of getting burned again by handing out big bucks in free agency (QB Sam Bradford-2018, CB Robert Alford-2019, DL Jordan Phillips-2020). If so, this tactic is very frustrating to Cardinals fans who look around the league and see a great deal of high-level, blockbuster moves taking place.
Here’s what I’d like to see the Cardinals do prior to the draft:
*Sign former Cardinal and free-agent defensive lineman, Calais Campbell, to a one-year contract. The 36-year old Campbell has proven to be both durable and productive. Paired with J.J. Watt the Cardinals defensive front becomes stout and experienced in defending the run and rushing the passer.
*Sign free-agent wide receiver Will Fuller to a one-year contract. Fuller is a former teammate of Cards receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller has had some injury issues in the past. In fact, injuries limited him to only two games last year with the Dolphins. But Fuller has game-changing speed that can draw coverages away from Hopkins while making the Cardinals offense more explosive.
*Trade former UMass standout Andy Isabella and a 2022 7th round draft pick to the New England Patriots for former ASU star N’Keal Harry. A little homecoming for both players may be just what the doctor ordered in terms of jump-starting their careers.
Here’s what I’d like to see the Cardinals do in the draft:
*Cards trade 2023 first round pick, 2023 second round pick and 2024 fourth round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for 2022 first round pick (#12 overall).
*Cards trade 2023 third round pick to Atlanta Falcons for 2022 4th round pick (Cards miss out on day one and two of 2023 draft)
2022 NFL Draft
RD PLAYER POSITION COLLEGE
1 (from Vikings) Jermaine Johnson OLB/Edge Rusher Florida State (Physical edge setter. He shined both at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. Tallied 12 sacks last year at FSU)
1 Jameson Williams Wide Receiver Alabama (Top-10 pick and perhaps first receiver taken if not for ACL injury in the national championship game. Great value pick)
2 Darian Kinnard Offensive Lineman Kentucky (Massive man at 6’5, 345. He’s powerful with surprising mobility. Can play both inside and outside.)
3 Rachaad White Running Back Arizona State (Great lateral movement without losing speed. Best pass receiving back in the draft. Replaces Chase Edmonds)
4 (from Falcons) Tyler Allgeier Running Back BYU (Powerful downhill runner. Good hands. Excellent back-up to James Conner)
4 (no pick Marco Wilson 2021 draft pick)
5 (no pick Zach Ertz trade)
6 DJ Davidson Defensive Lineman Arizona State (Davidson stands 6’4, 325. Great leg drive, solid against the run and can collapse the pocket against the pass)
6 (comp pick) Jeremiah Moon Outside Linebacker Florida (6’5, 250 active pass rusher with good size and great length)
7 (no pick Harry trade)
7 (comp pick) Marcus Jones Cornerback Houston (5’8, 185 small size an issue at corner. Dynamic return specialist. 8-career returns for touchdowns
7 (comp pick) Mario Goodrich Cornerback Clemson (6’1, 190 good athlete. Good vision and willing tackler in run game)