Cardinals Mock Draft 2.0 - Taking a pass rusher in the first round
This week we are moving to scenario number two, which would be to fill the Cardinals' second-biggest need: pass rushers.
I know, I know, the offensive line; they have to draft offensive linemen. They've needed to draft offensive linemen each of the past five seasons as well, and they have seven picks to address the offensive line, and will...I hope.
Note: The draft order was taken from information provided by dailynorseman.com, who noted that the Cardinals will receive the Minnesota Vikings sixth-round selection and another sixth-round selection from the Vikings by way of the Tennessee Titans (so the 8th and 21st picks in Round 6).
Round 1: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Louisiana St University
The Cardinals have a lot of pieces in place on the defensive side of the ball, but they lack a player that can create consistent pressure as a pass rusher.
Mingo didn't show up on the stat sheet the way casual fans would like, but he creates pressure consistently, and he has upside that needs to be harnessed and coached up.
Mingo moving to a pass-rushing OLB position seems natural to me, he has the build, quickness and agility to play the position, and he wouldn't have to add much more, if any, weight.
Round 2: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
I will continue to mock Warford to the Cardinals in the second round in any mock draft that doesn't have them taking an offensive lineman in the first round.
He's the best guard prospect that will be available on day two, and he fits into the Arians mold of what he wants in offensive line talent.
Warford is a powerful run-blocking offensive lineman that will be ideal in the power-heavy run scheme the Cardinals are likely to employ.
Round 3: Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State
Slay's stock is rising fast, meaning the internet is finally catching up to what the scouts have already seen. That means he may not even be available in the third round, but for a mock two months early this pick seems about right.
Slay is deft in coverage, with a long, lanky frame, smooth hips and an ability to turn and run with his man.
Slay closes exceptionally well and is good in 50-50 situations.
Adding Slay to a young defensive backfield could be a solid coup for the Cardinals at the end of day two, and he would fit well across from Patrick Peterson, as he is used to playing across from star defensive backs.
Round 4: Matt Scott, QB, Arizona
Scott isn't of the same pedigree as other quarterbacks that might be available in the fourth round like a Landry Jones, but his upside is better, and he has the movement skills to be effective in-and-out of the pocket that Arians likes in his passers.
Scott possesses a good feel inside the pocket, shows good zip on his throws and has good accuracy on both intermediate throws and deep balls.
He needs to get used to lining up under center, as well as just natural seasoning, as he has only played in 17 collegiate games. However, he is an intriguing day three quarterback prospect.
Round 5: Chris Faulk, LT, Louisiana State University
While he may not possess the ideal size of today's left tackles, Faulk is a powerfully built, yet smooth pass blocker.
He's coming off a major injury and there are plenty of question marks with not only his health but his conditioning as well.
However, Faulk has the upside, if healthy, to become a franchise-type left tackle, who would also be an excellent fit in the run game.
Round 6: Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee
Rivera, like many others on this list, may not make it down this far when it's all said and done, but he is another good receiving option, especially in the middle of the field for whoever the Cardinals peg as their starting quarterback in 2013.
He isn't overly athletic or consistent as a run blocker, but he runs good routes, finds ways to get open, and despite a lack of build, works hard to block in the run game.
Round 6: Ray Ray Armstrong, SS, University of Miami
This pick may raise some eyebrows, hell, some of you may wonder who this is, but the reality is Armstrong was on the fast track to being a special prospect before ruining his eligibility with an agent meaning.
Armstrong is a big, physical safety, who would be worth bringing in to learn under the tutelage of Adrian Wilson. Armstrong may not even be drafted. In fact, we may be talking about another Vontaze Burfict-type but with a extra picks comes the ability to take some risks, and Armstrong is the type of prospect you take a risk on with an extra selection.
Round 6: Bruce Taylor, ILB, Virginia Tech
Taylor is an undersized, yet physical inside linebacker that was making his way up draft boards in 2011 before an injury.
He wasn't as imposing but still showed flashes in 2012, and now sits in the lower range of linebacker prospects.
What Taylor showed in his early 2011 film was a player that was athletic enough to make plays in the run game and could cover the middle of the field effectively in the passing game.
He shows plus explosiveness when at full strength, and if he's able to get back there, Taylor could be a strong fit as an inside linebacker next to Daryl Washington.
There's the Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft 2.0, or as I like to call it, the pass rusher mock draft.
I know, I know, we want an offensive lineman -- whether it's Warmack or Fisher -- on day one, so we can focus on the second round and beyond to fill other needs.
The reality is the Cardinals may not have an opportunity to take the offensive tackle of their choice, and as much as I would like to see Chance Warmack at No. 7 in the first round, that may not be a viable option...til next week's mock draft.
Seth Cox/The Sports Headquarters, Editor-in-chief of The Sports Headquarters
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