Cardinals Draft Projections

The Cardinals have assembled a solid nucleus of young talent but must continue building the team through the draft and free agency. Ken Whisenhunt looks to turn the corner in his second year in the desert, but there are major holes to fill this offseason. Brad Wilbricht projects what the Cardinals draft board might look like with this pre-combine mock draft.

Round One: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

Mendenhall (5'10", 215 pounds) left Illinois after his junior season and has been surging up the draft charts. He has good vision and patience, and is able to generate additional yardage after contact with his powerful leg drive. He has adequate quickness and an outstanding burst of speed, something the Cardinals desperately need. Mendenhall possesses the lower body strength and receiving ability to become an every-down back at the NFL level. RB Edgerrin James is running out of gas and the Cardinals need a fresh set of legs to groom as his replacement.

Round Two: Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech

Flowers (5'10", 190 pounds) is another underclassman who opted to leave early for the NFL draft. He was a two-time All-American for the Hookies after intercepting eight passes and registering 27 deflections over the past two seasons. Flowers has exceptional instincts and the physical tools to thrive at the next level. He is excellent in run defense and can make plays behind the line a scrimmage. He finished his college career with 158 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks. The Cardinals need an immediate contributor in the secondary and Flowers' physical nature should allow for a smooth transition.

Round Three: Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State

Assuming WR Bryant Johnson leaves in free agency, the Cardinals need to bring in a talented wide receiver to compete for the third spot on the depth chart. Arizona's current backup receivers are all unproven. Nelson (6'2", 215 pounds) is one of the most imposing wide-outs in the draft and has the complete package of size, speed and hands. He was a consensus All-American in 2007 and a finalist for the Bilentnikoff Award. Nelson had an incredibly productive senior season for the Wildcats, catching 122 passes for 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns.

DE Trevor Laws
Brian Bahr/Getty

Round Four: Trevor Laws, DT, Notre Dame

Laws' versatility makes him an excellent fit for the Cardinals' 3-4 scheme. He has the size (6'1", 302 pounds) to play on the interior and quickness to line up outside. Laws is an extremely active player who improved at each level of his career. He features good body control and is a solid open-field tackler. He has good anticipation and a quick first step. His aggressive nature would be a good fit in Clancy Pendergast's high-energy defense. He has a nonstop motor and an outstanding work-ethic.

Round Five: Vince Hall, LB, Virginia Tech

Hall is undersized (5'11", 239 pounds) but has enough bulk and strength to take on blockers. He has good awareness and reads plays well. Hall is able to sift through traffic and is relentless in pursuit. He has a nose for the ball, ending his college career with 404 tackles, 30 tackles for a loss and nine sacks. He is effective on the blitz, shows good versatility, and can play both inside and outside linebacker. Also could contribute on special teams.

Round Six: Craig Stevens, TE, California

The jury is still out on Cardinals TE Leonard Pope and Stevens would provide solid depth at the position. Stevens (6'4", 257 pounds) does not have overwhelming statistics, but Cal's offensive style tends to underutilize tight ends. Stevens lacks top-end speed but runs crisp routes and is a reliable target. He is physical for his size and is graded as one of the top blocking tight ends in this year's draft. He shows good toughness and has been durable throughout his career. Stevens could also be used as an H-back or fullback in certain situations.

Round Seven: Corey Clark, OT, Texas A&M

If the right prospect is available earlier in the draft, Arizona could look to upgrade the offensive line with a first-day pick. However, Clark would be a solid late-round selection who would provide depth to a thin group of offensive linemen. He has good size (6'6", 313 pounds) and was a three-year starter for the Aggies. Clark has excellent lateral quickness and shows good agility once set. He displays solid technique and has a high football IQ. Clark could boost the Cardinals struggling run game; he was part of a Texas A&M offense that averaged 218 rushing yards per game during his final three seasons.


Do you think you can do better? Post your Cardinals draft projections in the message board. If you want to write a brief explanation next to each of your picks, we'll consider running them on the front page.

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