Rd. 1, Pk. 13
Christian Wilkins, DT/3-4DE/NT, Clemson
The Cardinals have gotten nothing out of Robert Nkemdiche, so I have to wonder at what point they aim to draft another interior defensive lineman. They are getting zero pressure from those players, which is not good considering that two divisional opponents now have franchise quarterbacks.
Rd. 2, Pk. 12
Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
As mentioned in the first round, the Cardinals have to focus on finding a second-day quarterback they really like to be a successor for Carson Palmer.
Rd. 3, Pk. 16
Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
There's no telling how much longer Larry Fitzgerald will play, so the Cardinals need to find some young talent at receiver.
Sources have told me that Bruce Arians loves Pat Mahomes, so I think he and Deshaun Watson could be in play here. The Cardinals could easily take a linebacker in Reuben Foster, but they took a chance on a character concern last year in Robert Nkemdiche, and that doesn't look very good a year later. Howard is one of the safest picks in the 2017 NFL Draft and will give Arizona a receiving weapon. Larry Fitzgerald is aging, Michael Floyd was cut, and John Brown is in the last year of his contract. Here's a long-term weapon for Arizona.
Howard is a safe pick, meanwhile, and the organization, including general manager Dave Caldwell, needs a safe pick after Luke Joeckel was a bust, Blake Bortles is trending that direction, and Dante Fowler is still an unknown. Howard is one of the safest picks in the 2017 NFL Draft as a plug-and-play starter. Marcedes Lewis turns 33 just after the draft and is more of a blocker, while receiving tight end Julius Thomas was traded away. Howard would give Bortles another weapon, and Howard's blocking would be an upgrade over Thomas in double-tight end sets.
Howard had 45 catches for 595 yards and three touchdowns in 2016. In 2015, he made 38 catches for 602 yards and two touchdowns. Howard totaled 17 receptions for 260 yards in 2014. The 6-foot-5, 249-pounder flashed big-time potential in 2013. The freshman hauled in 14 passes for 269 yards - 19.2 average - with two touchdowns.
The talented tight end was very under-utilized by Alabama, generally. As he proved with Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Amari Cooper and then Calvin Ridley, former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin settles on one receiver and struggles to call plays for anyone else regardless of their talent or mismatch potential. Howard is a fast and dangerous receiving weapon who is a dynamic mismatch weapon. He is too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers. Howard looks like a future Pro Bowl tight end. Sources say Howard still needed to improve his route-running and blocking, but he was able to show progress in those areas as a senior. His blocking was significantly better to the point that he was making an impact as a blocker late in his senior year.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Davis Webb, QB, California
The Cardinals grab their understudy for Carson Palmer.
In 2016, Webb completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards with 37 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The graduate transfer has a strong arm and can make some well-placed passes downfield. He also has good size and stands tall in the pocket. Webb shows some field vision to work through his progressions, but he doesn't have mobility for the NFL. In terms of the critical characteristic of accuracy, Webb has potential. Sources say Webb (6-4, 229) can be erratic, but that they like him enough to think of him as a potential second-day pick. California's offense does a poor job of preparing quarterbacks for the NFL - see Jared Goff -, so Webb will have to learn calling plays in the huddle, working under center, traditional footwork for a pro quarterback, and running NFL plays instead of California's Bear Raid college plays.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
The Cardinals cut Michael Floyd, John Brown is in the last year of his contract, and Larry Fitzgerald is aging. Thus, Arizona could target some receiver help.
Dupre totaled 41 receptions for 593 yards and three touchdowns in 2016, but LSU's receivers were generally held back by the program's quarterback play. In 2015, Dupre had 43 receptions for 698 yards and six touchdowns despite poor quarterback play in a ground-based scheme. As a freshman in 2014, he recorded 14 catches for 318 yards for five scores. Dupre (6-2, 196) has a lot of potential and could have produced more if he had played in a passing offense.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic
The Cardinals could add multiple defensive linemen since Calais Campbell left in free agency and Robert Nkemdiche struggled as a rookie.
Hendrickson was one of the stars of the East-West Shrine with a strong week of practice. He did well in the pass-rushing one-on-ones and notched a lot of wins. In 2016, Hendrickson totaled 51 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes batted. He had 13.5 sacks as a junior.
Hendrickson could be a mid-round sleeper. Sources have said they graded him in the early rounds of Day 3, but sneaking into the second day is possible. Hendrickson had an impressive combine performance.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Dwayne Thomas, CB, LSU
The Cardinals grab a corner to compete.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Eddie Vanderdoes, DT/3-4DE/NT, UCLA
The Cardinals grab more interior defensive line competition.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Marquez White, CB, Florida State
The Cardinals will probably add some corner competition in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Dylan Cole, OLB, Missouri State
The Cardinals have hosted Cole and could use some edge-defender depth.
The Cardinals grab their replacement for Carson Palmer. Allen could remind Bruce Arians of his time in Pittsburgh working with Ben Roethlisberger. <br> <br>
Allen has completed 63 percent of his passes in 2017 for 502 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. <br> <br>
Allen was running for his life all day against Iowa in Week 1. The Wyoming offensive line was dominated, and Allen got no help from his supporting cast. He also made mistakes of his own, including two ugly interceptions, and there easily could have been at least one more interception that was dropped by Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell. Allen ended up completing 23-of-40 passes for 174 yards with two interceptions and zero touchdowns. Overall, Allen showed his big skill set with size, toughness, athleticism, and a strong arm. There were plays where he looked like a young Ben Roethlisberger. There were other plays where Allen showed bad decision-making and inaccuracy. <br> <br>
Allen will probably be a high pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but his 2017 season opener indicates that he could be a work in progress who will need some developmental time. His completion percentage and interception total from 2016 provide evidence for that assessment. He completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last year.<br> <br>
Allen (6-5, 222) became a discussed prospect late in the 2016 season, but he wisely decided to return to Wyoming. He has a special skill set, and some draft analysts were projecting him high in the first round, but one general manager told WalterFootball.com that he had Allen as a third-day prospect and thought Allen should improve before going pro. Other team sources that did advance work for National Scouting for the 2018 prospects really liked Allen and compared him to Ben Roethlisberger, so don't be surprised if he is a polarizing prospect. Still, Allen has a great skill set with tons of upside.
Cardinals Trade: 12th overall, 3rd round. 6th round 2019 1st and 4th round.
Browns Trade: 4th overall (from Texans). 7th round.
The Browns don't like to take QBs high unless they're a stud. They're probably aiming at Darnold next year if the Peyton Manning joining their FO are true they may convince him Cleveland isn't so bad. They also still have Kizer who has shown a little promise, and he may improve from Manning or just with experience. No matter what I think they trade this pick, with who and for what is subjective, but I think it's with either the Broncos, Chargers, or Cardinals. The Cards, picking the latest of the 3, and feeling the most pressure with Palmer likely gone after his injury, move first and select their QB of the future (assuming they don't get anyone in FA).
Full disclosure I think this team may be battling for the top selection in my opinion. This team has too much stock in Palmer getting back to what he was two years ago, but at his age I doubt that is possible. Their defense is also not as good as before losing Calais Campbell and being forced to start Justin Bethel across from Patrick Peterson. I also, think this is Bruce Arians last year at head coach with his age and health issues.
If they do pick here selecting the fourth best quarterback may be their best option. Whether that is Rudolph, Lamar Jackson, Luke Falk, Jarrett Stidham, Nick Fitzgerald, or my dark horse Tanner Lee of Nebraska. At the moment I think if Rudolph puts in a good year he can see a Pat Mahomes type rise.
I think this is the season where the floor completely drops on Carson Palmer's career after a few regressing seasons. If that happens they may just tank to land a top quarterback to reload on offense. They kind of have to do that with the Seahawks in their division going nowhere, the Rams who seem to have an upswing in store for them, and the 49ers with a smart front office looking for a quick turn around. The Cards need to do the same to stay relevant. Their defense boosts a good corner and decent pass rush, but to me they have been a bit over hyped and not capable of pulling their poor offense to wins. Rosen has the biggest arm out of the top 3 quarterbacks, but his size and arrogance worries me. If Bruce Arians does not retire after this season it would be a great pairing since he can break Rosen of his poor attitude while also giving him some of the best teaching a quarterback can get from a coach in this league.
Last Weeks Selection: Lamar Jackson QB Louisville at Pick # 22
The Cardinals grab their replacement for Carson Palmer. <br> <br>
In 2017, Jackson has completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,387 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also taken 65 carries for 337 yards and four rushing touchdowns. Some team sources think that Jackson is worthy of being a top-10 pick and will rise in the leadup to the draft similar to Pat Mahomes. Other scouts think they may end up with a second-round grade on Jackson. <br> <br>
Jackson has a great athletic skill set, including a powerful arm that can make all throws the NFL requires and some rare passes. While his tremendous running ability gets a lot of attention, Jackson is better passing from the pocket than he is given credit. Jackson will take some shots and deliver good passes in the face of the rush. He also handles Bobby Petrino's scheme well. Jackson can be inconsistent with his accuracy, and needs to add weight to his frame for the NFL. <br> <br>
Jackson (6-3, 205) set college football on fire in 2016 while winning the Heisman Trophy. He was a massive point-producer for the Cardinals. Jackson completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year. He also ran for 21 touchdowns and 1,571 yards while averaging six yards per carry.