Gandhi mock draft

Gandhi

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After some years off, I again took part in a mock draft this year, along with 31 others.

Forgive me that I am repeating myself year after year, but obviously my rankings are made from the Cards’ perspective, and not the overall general rankings that media analyst makes for all teams together.

I will write it as a continuously story again.

Here is a link to the full mock draft: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/americanfootball/gm-mock-2022-drafttr-den-t1887.html

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Since Steve Keim apparently forgot that free agency opened, I think that the team is left with a lot of holes. I went into the game targeting wide receivers, offensive guards, edge rushers, and cornerbacks.

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#23 – Highest ranked inside linebacker.


No, as my pick in the first round got nearer and nearer it was clear to me that I would choose between wide receiver Jameson Williams out of Alabama, edge rusher Jermaine Johnson out of Florida State, offensive guard Kenyon Green out of Texas A&M, and as a joker, cornerback Kaiir Elam out of Florida if the other three got taken right in front of me.

Jermaine Johnson has amazing game film from his one year as a starter, and from the Senior Bowl. Kenyon Green is the best guard in the class. Elam has all the potential in the world.

#23 – Jameson Williams, wide receiver, Alabama

Several things led me to this selection.

The first was that, in my opinion, neither Green, Johnson, nor Elam has one characteristic that sets them apart from their direct competitors, whereas Williams clearly has one – speed. And further, he is very good at other “normal” wide receiver-things as well. Thus, based on a combination of top competence and floor level, I have Williams ranked as the best wide receiver in this class, slightly ahead of Treylon Burks out of Arkansas.

The second reason was that Williams gives the Cards another dimension. I don’t think that Rondale Moore is supposed to consistently be a deep threat, and I think that Williams brings something else than Nuk Hopkins. Thus, Williams’ presence should give the other targets better working conditions.

The third reason was that this offseason is all about helping Kyler Murray. He is arguably the most talented (or one of them) quarterback in the NFL, and the Cards goes where he goes. So, give him the best conditions to succeed.

The fourth reason was that I feel that I can find good guards and edge rushers later in the draft. As of now, I am more skeptic with cornerback, but let’s see if I don’t find one later. I think I will.

The fifth reason was that ACL injuries are not as big a deal in 2022 as it were not-so-many-years ago, so even though Williams is probably not full-go from the start of the regular season, I don’t consider it much of an issue him. Especially since it is a clear cut and shouldn’t give repercussions. I have no doubt, though, that he was only available because the injury made some teams go other ways.

(and in the real world, by the way, that might also matter because of Keim and Kingsbury’s new-won job security, so they can afford themselves the time).

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Talk about getting stuck. I had no one rated in this area – at least not in positions of need which is obviously what you want to draft in the first couple of rounds nowadays. 10-15-20 spot later, yes, but I was not able to sell my pick.

I only considered two players, where the other one was Sam Williams, the edge rusher out of Mississippi State. I think he is a very interesting player with a skillset to turn into a big contributor, but I also think he has a lot of work to get there. He was selected four picks after mine, by the way, so my hope of him sliding to the late third round were quickly shot down.

#55 – Darian Kinnard, offensive lineman, Kentucky

I decided to go on with the theme “help Murray,” with this selection.

I think that Kinnard has a lot of potential, but also that he is not ready yet. He could step in at all positions except center, and right now I only feel good about Pugh and Beachum.

It is now 24 hours after the selection, and I feel comfortable with the pick, but I still don’t feel great.

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#87 – Brandon Smith, linebacker / edge rusher, Penn State

I am aware that several members on this board will now be ready to curse me, but please let me explain.

Yes, I selected what is officially a middle linebacker with the intention of having him switch position to edge rusher.

I think that Smith have almost all the prerequisites to make the move, and I think it is fair to say that the transition will not be that big, as he has been used in a slightly similar role at Penn State – blitzing of the edge, holding the edge. It is obviously very easy to compare him to his former teammate Micah Parsons, but it is Parson’s role with the Cowboys that I have in mind for Smith. They are built almost identically and have many of the same playing characteristics. Yes, Parsons both played and tested better – but he was also a high first round pick, and this is the third round. And I had Smith ranked very high at this moment.

Hell, what if Simmons or Collins doesn’t take the step up? Then the Cards would potentially have another shot with Smith on the roster. Overall, I think it is worth the gamble.

I did consider Marquis Hayes, offensive guard out of Oklahoma where he has a wealth of experience in an offense that are somewhat reminiscent of the Cards’. Should I have done something else in the second round, and selected Hayes here? Alternatively select two offensive linemen back-to-back? Maybe. I am not dismissive of those ideas.

Other players I considered included runningback Rachaad White from Arizona State (I guess many of you know him, but no way I would take a runningback this high), edge rusher Alex Wright out of UAB (raw, but talented, yet he was taken a few picks later, so my hope of him sliding far was killed fast), edge rusher Chris Allen out of Alabama (he could slide due to injury concerns, though I doubt it will be to the sixth round), and defensive tackle Zach Carter out of Florida (I could see him slide. Let’s see).

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First of all, I must say that there is a looooong time from the third- to the sixth round. Okay, it doesn’t take over a week in real life, but still, it will be a bit hard. Just so you are prepared when that time comes.

#201 – Christopher Allen, edge rusher, Alabama

Talk about a boom-or-bust talent.

I did not expect him to be available, but I suppose it is because of his injury history. That might also cause him to slide in the real draft.

He has lost almost two full years (2019 and this year), but both times it has been because of blow injuries, so I think it is fair to say that it won’t necessarily haunt him (but obviously the medical checks are crucial). When he has played, he has looked really good, and I would even say that - if you can judge anything from such a small sample - in the one half or so that he played in 2021, he looked really explosive, more so than in 2020.

I think that this might be the most glaring need the Cards have, but if you hit on both Smith and Allen, I think that you might hit jackpot. Thus, I did not consider anyone else than Allen.

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#215 – Jerome Ford, runningback, Cincinnati

Ford reminds me a little of Chase Edmonds. I guess there is not really anything else to explain?

I think that Jonathan Ward will start ahead of him at the depth chart, but competition has never hurt.

I did think a little about defensive tackle Eyioma Uwazurike out of Iowa State, but I decided that I could probably get him in the seventh round – and then he got selected a couple of picks after me.

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#244 – Matt Hankins, cornerback, Iowa

Finally I got a cornerback. It is a fair point to make that I should have found one with one of the first three picks, but I was more hoping to get one in the sixth round. I did not, but I am satisfied with Hankins. I have never seen him play, but I can read several places that he could end up as a steal. That he has most of the prerequisite to become very good, but mostly need good coaching. I think that the defensive back coaches have done very well so far.

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#256 – Dare Rosenthal, offensive tackle, Kentucky

Why not take the other Kentucky-OT as well? I remember Rosenthal from LSU, where he did some bad off the field-stuff, but he is a different player since he transferred to Kentucky. Actually, before the season started, the idea was that Darian Kinnard would be moved from right tackle to left, but then Rosenthal entered, and he kept Kinnard at right tackle.

Rosenthal lost about 40 pounds from the season to the Scouting Combine, and I must admit that is actually a bit of a red flag to me. Why would he do it voluntarily? Thus, does it mean that he cannot keep his weight in check, or is there something medically wrong? I don’t know, but it does make me a bit skeptical.

I probably have more faith in Justin Murray than most, but Humphries played bad last year, and Rosenthal has more potential than both Josh Miles and Josh Jones, who have been on the game day roster the last two seasons.

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#257 – Kalia Davis, defensive tackle, UCF

I did think about selecting one of the special team’s standouts (Percy Butler, Louisiana – Grant Morgan, Nebraska – Bo Melton, Rutgers), but I could not come out of this draft without addressing the interior run defense. I simply could not.

I have only watched Youtube clips of Davis, but I like how he has a low center of gravity, and he shoots out of his stance. The reports are also positive.

And who knows, maybe he is good on special teams.

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All in all I am satisfied. There are some things that I would have liked to fall out differently, but that is obviously not fully up to me. As I mentioned, it is fair to argue that it would have been better with edge rusher Sam Williams (Ole Miss) in the second round, and offensive tackle Marquis Hayes (Oklahoma) in the third. Personally, I think the ceiling is very high for both Kinnard and Smith.

I could have selected a cornerback in the second- or third round, but who? Tariq Castro-Fields (Penn State)? Coby Bryant (Cincinnati)? Akayleb Evans (Missouri) or Joshua Williams (Fayetteville State)? Come on, you can’t say that any of them would have been good value-picks.

I would have liked some of my favorite wide receivers to be available in the sixth, as I think Jameson Williams is not enough to add to the arsenal. But all of Kyle Phillips (UCLA), Tyquan Thornton (Baylor), Kevin Austin (Notre Dame) and Tre Turner (Virginia Tech) were off the board at the sixth round, where I had them all ranked just a little earlier than.

I am satisfied with the positions and value that I got. I think that the first three rookies can contribute quickly, while all the remaining five have big potential, and could end up as steals.
 

BritCard

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Good job. I understand your reasoning on the linebacker Id have to take James Cook there.
 

oaken1

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WR, OG, EDGE.

Those are the choices for the first three rounds.

Not the players I might have picked but I think you put together a solid draft that not only addresses needs but also allows for some flexibility.

Nice job Ghandi
 
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Gandhi

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Looks like a developable group.

All draft classes are, Harry. :) Every year, analysts and fans annoint a number of players as "surefire prospects," and then the same players end up not producing in the NFL. "The surefire" draft class does not exist.
 
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Gandhi

Gandhi

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Bump, since it is obviously more relevant than ever.

I have come to the conclusion that I should have drafted Sam Williams in the second, and Marquis Hayes in the third instead. However, I stand by all the points and views.
 
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Gandhi

Gandhi

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Man this draft would be strong if it worked out that way...

I agree. I don't know if the decision makers have underestimated the issues at pass rush, left tackle, potentially right guard, wide receiver, and even cornerback, but it surprises me a lot that they have not even tried to do something about it in free agency. In my opinion it forces them to target very specific positions even more than usual, and the lack of mid round picks certainly does not help that. Their approach to this offseason so far surprises me a lot.
 

az jam

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I like Williams, but just don't see him there when we pick. I think there will be a run on WRs and not sure if any of the top ones will be there when we pick. This is a really hard draft in the first round to predict. I do think you have put together is nice solid draft.
 
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PACardsFan

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I agree. I don't know if the decision makers have underestimated the issues at pass rush, left tackle, potentially right guard, wide receiver, and even cornerback, but it surprises me a lot that they have not even tried to do something about it in free agency. In my opinion it forces them to target very specific positions even more than usual, and the lack of mid round picks certainly does not help that. Their approach to this offseason so far surprises me a lot.
If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that the early big money FA’s generally do not pan out. We’ve also learned that no one really knows how a draft plays out, unless of course, you have the 1st pick. So, you pick BP at positions of need & THEN afterwards you go back & fill in with who’s still available in FA. And there are plenty of good options still out there to choose from.
 

Krangodnzr

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I agree. I don't know if the decision makers have underestimated the issues at pass rush, left tackle, potentially right guard, wide receiver, and even cornerback, but it surprises me a lot that they have not even tried to do something about it in free agency. In my opinion it forces them to target very specific positions even more than usual, and the lack of mid round picks certainly does not help that. Their approach to this offseason so far surprises me a lot.
I look at the roster like this: by and large, this is most of the same players that started the season 10-2. Granted they ended the season 11-5.

Of the players that matter the most, they lost Jones and Kirk. Jones was a non factor for a good chunk of the season, but you can't say he was terrible. They need to replace his production and I don't know that they have even come close. Can Gardeck, Kennard, and Dimukeje replace Jones' production? Partially, but they are unlikely to replace enough.

They need one more WR. Unless Moore and Wesley take a huge step forward, the math just doesn't add up.

I think there is still a clear path to this team being pretty good. Add a WR contributor and a young pass rusher through the draft. Stay fairly healthy. Young players on the rosters grow a bit.

I've watched the Cardinals long enough that I don't expect any of these things to happen LOL.

The writing is on the wall that the Cardinals are doing a mini-reset this year. They will have ample cap space next offseason and should have at least one additional 3rd round pick.
 

BritCard

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Unless Moore and Wesley take a huge step forward, the math just doesn't add up.

Those two shouldn't appear in the same sentence.

Moore get's some harsh criticism around here. He was legit good to start the season. He only wasn't later in the year because teams adjusted to what we were doing and we all know Kliff never has a plan B.

Wesley is never, ever going to be anything other than an RZ jump ball guy.

Here every Moore snap from weeks 1-2 last year (Click links). I think people need reminding how electric he can be. I think he's going to have a great year in a more expansive and varied role.

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and here's 3-6

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slanidrac16

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I agree. I don't know if the decision makers have underestimated the issues at pass rush, left tackle, potentially right guard, wide receiver, and even cornerback, but it surprises me a lot that they have not even tried to do something about it in free agency. In my opinion it forces them to target very specific positions even more than usual, and the lack of mid round picks certainly does not help that. Their approach to this offseason so far surprises me a lot.
Keim sees it differently. Signing Gladney, (maybe add Alford) Hernandez ( with the rest of the cast),Green and Conner( and Eno)tells me he’s filled the holes we see as critical.

To me the glaring hole is WR and Edge.The problem I believe is the upper crust like Williams, Wilson and Olave will be gone by 23.

Edge is another hole. I think Ebiketie or Johnson will be our pick unless one of the Wr’s fall.
 
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Gandhi

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I like Williams, but just don't see him there when we pick. I think there will be a run on WRs and not sure if any of the top ones will be thee when we pick. This is a really hard draft in the first round to predict. I do think you have put together is nice solid draft.
Az, I completely agree with you. I would be very surprised if Williams is on the board come the Cards' pick.
 
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Gandhi

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If we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that the early big money FA’s generally do not pan out. We’ve also learned that no one really knows how a draft plays out, unless of course, you have the 1st pick. So, you pick BP at positions of need & THEN afterwards you go back & fill in with who’s still available in FA. And there are plenty of good options still out there to choose from.

I agree, PA, but two things: no, but I did not necessarily mean the most expensive free agents. Just at all. I mean, I actually have some hopes for Will Hernandez, but Jeff Gladney looks like a backup signing to me. The second things is that, yes, I would also always take the best player at a position of need, but because of the lack of offseason activity, they have a lot of needs to fill out. Several more than they have (first- and second day-) picks.
 
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Gandhi

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Keim sees it differently. Signing Gladney, (maybe add Alford) Hernandez ( with the rest of the cast),Green and Conner( and Eno)tells me he’s filled the holes we see as critical.

Sadly, I think you are right.

To me the glaring hole is WR and Edge.The problem I believe is the upper crust like Williams, Wilson and Olave will be gone by 23.

Edge is another hole. I think Ebiketie or Johnson will be our pick unless one of the Wr’s fall.

I don't know, Slanidrac. I have a lot of trust in Peter Schrager's view (he predicted the last three first round picks for the Cards), and he says that he cannot see the Cards going defense again.
 

oaken1

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I agree, PA, but two things: no, but I did not necessarily mean the most expensive free agents. Just at all. I mean, I actually have some hopes for Will Hernandez, but Jeff Gladney looks like a backup signing to me. The second things is that, yes, I would also always take the best player at a position of need, but because of the lack of offseason activity, they have a lot of needs to fill out. Several more than they have (first- and second day-) picks.
?????

Dude. Gladney was a great get.

Kid was a first round pick.
Played one season taking the usual rookie DB beating.
Had a legal issue,sat out last year to fix it.
Had his day in court. Was found not guilty.

Now he is here. This is a big win for the cardinals. Basically a free first round pick. He should be on par with Wilson as far as development goes and I expect he will be our starting nickle back.
Unless he spent all last season playing Xbox and eating cheetohs keim quietly scored by signing Jeff Gladney.

Oh yeah, and the dude likes to tackle.
 

oaken1

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Sadly, I think you are right.



I don't know, Slanidrac. I have a lot of trust in Peter Schrager's view (he predicted the last three first round picks for the Cards), and he says that he cannot see the Cards going defense again.
We have a DC that won't play first round picks.
I would never give him another one.
 

slanidrac16

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Sadly, I think you are right.



I don't know, Slanidrac. I have a lot of trust in Peter Schrager's view (he predicted the last three first round picks for the Cards), and he says that he cannot see the Cards going defense again.
A lot depends on who’s left when we pick .
 
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Gandhi

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?????

Dude. Gladney was a great get.

I certainly hope you are right, Oaken. That would be fantastic.

I am just not as optimistic myself. Sure there are often growing pains for rookies, but Gladney was clearly outplayed by another rookie (Cameron Dantzler) in his first year, and before he got kicked out of the team he was expected to be replaced as a big contributor by Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland. Counting on Gladney as your new #1 cornerback seems very risky to me.
 

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