Who Should the Arizona Cardinals Draft First in 2020?
The Arizona Cardinals are on the verge of quite the turn-around. Everyone mocked them when they dumped their head coach and would-be franchise quarterback after one year, but they actually ended up being good moves.
The jury is still out on how good this team will be, but Kyler Murray looks pretty legit, and the offense around him has promise.
Arizona got even more interesting after trading for superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. That may cement this as one of the more dangerous offenses in all of football.
Could the Cardinals suddenly be serious defensive upgrades away from (gulp) contending for a Super Bowl? That seems like a reach, but Arizona was already competitive in 2019 and could take another big step forward.
Luckily, the Cardinals get to do so with a little more ammunition. Their plight starts in round one of the 2020 NFL Draft, as they get the 8th overall pick to work with.
Here’s a quick look at Arizona’s chief needs, the top players they should be looking at, and who they ultimately will draft first in 2020.
Arizona Cardinals’ Biggest Draft Needs
- Offensive Tackle
The Cardinals are really close to being pretty darn good, but their pass protection needs work. Kyler Murray is mobile, and some of the sacks he took in 2019 were his fault, but Arizona still allowed the 5th-most sacks in pro football.
That won’t cut it. The hope is D.J. Humphries (who the team just extended) can be better, while the right side of the line probably needs to be upgraded. Talent infusion of any capacity for this line wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Arizona has issues with protecting the quarterback, as well as getting after it. The Cardinals were a middle-of-the-pack pass rush (17th), and they lost a veteran presence in Terrell Suggs. They need fresh blood on the outside.
The same goes for cornerback. Patrick Peterson may end up walking into a contract year and is 29, while Byron Murphy didn’t grade well according to Pro Football Focus. More competition should be added.
Now that you know what Arizona should be targeting, here’s a look at who they may look to select.
Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama
This is the first prospect I’d look to, as Arizona needs to try to improve their pass protection.
Kyler Murray is not a big guy, and he can only work so much magic. Making sure he takes fewer hits and can save some of his energy should be a priority.
Wills is talented enough to be the first offensive tackle off the board, so you better believe he’s on Arizona’s radar at 8th overall.
Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Brown is one of the nastiest defensive prospects going into the 2020 NFL Draft, as he offers a nice blend of size, strength, and athleticism.
Arizona could certainly use him up front on their defensive line. His presence could make the need for edge help slightly less pressing.
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Getting pressure on the quarterback is a pretty big deal, as it aligns with getting wins in pro football. Arizona wasn’t awful at it last year, but they could be a lot better.
Chaisson is a mild reach inside the top 10, but after Chase Young, he’s probably the next-best pass rusher to target.
The LSU product didn’t rack up big numbers in college, but he has the physical traits of an absolute stud at the next level.
Who Will the Cardinals Draft First?
Ultimately, I think the Cardinals have to figure out a way to protect their most important player, which is undeniably Kyler Murray.
Protecting Murray better and also helping the running game have to be key priorities, especially for an offensive-minded head coach like Kliff Kingsbury.
Wills doesn’t have the prototypical size NFL teams covet, but he’s very athletic and nimble. That should help him in the run game and also may help Arizona for when plays break down, as they often do with Murray running the show.
Controlled chaos is the name of the game for this Cardinals team, and bringing in a stud o-line prospect that could fit them perfectly has to be the main goal at 8th overall.