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Cardinals Draft Primer 2020: Linebacker

Isaiah Simmons could be a possibility at No. 8

General Manager Steve Keim did an impressive job filling needs to begin the league year, as there are no longer any glaring holes in the starting lineup. He will aim to supplement the roster in the draft, beginning with the No. 8 overall selection. The Cardinals are without their second-rounder because of the DeAndre Hopkins trade, but did pick up an additional fourth in the deal. This is the final draft primer heading into Thursday's first round.

Draft primer: Linebacker

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Need: Medium

The Cardinals' situation: The position was bolstered in free agency, as Devon Kennard was signed to be the edge-rushing complement to Chandler Jones, while De'Vondre Campbell was added next to Jordan Hicks on the inside. There is still hope that Haason Reddick can unlock his premium physical gifts at outside linebacker, while Tanner Vallejo, Dennis Gardeck and Ezekiel Turner are backup inside linebackers and standout special teamers.

The draft class: Chase Young is the best edge rusher in the class, but he will be long gone by the time the Cardinals pick at No. 8. There aren't any other outside linebackers projected to be in the mix when the Cardinals are on the clock, so it would likely take a trade down or a later-round pick to add a piece. Clemson's Isaiah Simmons is fast enough to play safety, but at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, seems likely to be categorized as an inside linebacker in the NFL. Even though off-ball linebackers are not as coveted as players at other positions, Simmons' versatility is expected to land him in the top 10.

The conclusion: Simmons seems to be the only legitimate linebacker candidate at No. 8, if he is still on the board. If the Cardinals trade down, then edge rushers like K'Lavon Chaisson, Yetur Gross-Matos and A.J. Epenesa could be more in play. The Cardinals don't have much youth at linebacker, so it wouldn't be a surprise for them to draft one as a future option.

Images of some of the top inside and outside linebacker prospects in the 2020 draft

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