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Cardinals Mock Draft Roundup 1.0

Offensive tackles linked to team at No. 8

CardinalsMockdraftRoundup[31829]

Now that the first wave of free agency is over, the Cardinals' draft needs are coming into clearer focus.

General Manager Steve Keim will ultimately make the call on the No. 8 pick, but that won't stop a bevy of analysts from projecting the choice. Here is a look at some of the mock draft connections to the Cardinals with less than a month to go before the draft:

Alabama T Jedrick Wills
Alabama T Jedrick Wills

Jedrick Wills, Alabama offensive tackle

Chosen by: Danny Kelly, The Ringer; Doug Farrar, USA Today; Pete Prisco, CBS Sports; Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times.

AZCardinals.com analysis: The Cardinals filled holes at receiver, defensive tackle, inside linebacker and edge rusher at the start of the league year, so the emphasis on right tackle makes sense. Justin Murray and Marcus Gilbert are both starting options, but a blue-chip prospect to bookend the line with D.J. Humphries for years to come would be welcomed. Wills is a bit undersized at 6-foot-4 and 312 pounds, but his elite natural talent is expected to more than overcome that. Wills started 28 games in college, all at right tackle protecting Tua Tagovailoa's blindside, and could be primed to make an immediate impact in the NFL.

Iowa T Tristan Wirfs
Iowa T Tristan Wirfs

Tristan Wirfs, Iowa offensive tackle

Chosen by: Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN; Will Brinson, CBS Sports; John Clayton, Washington Post; Nate Davis, USA Today.

AZCardinals.com analysis: There will be no shortage of offensive tackles mocked to the Cardinals in the coming weeks, for three reasons: the team's roster composition, the positional value and the presence of four prospects that could conceivably go in the top-10. Wirfs and Wills are the two most regularly linked to the team, but Mekhi Becton and Andrew Thomas also seem plausible. Wirfs became the first true freshman to start at Iowa under coach Kirk Ferentz and went on to have a decorated career. He also played primarily right tackle in college, which could be an advantage if much of the offseason work gets wiped out.

LB Isaiah Simmons
LB Isaiah Simmons

Isaiah Simmons, Clemson inside linebacker

Chosen by: Lance Zierlein, NFL.com; Eric Edholm, Yahoo! Sports.

AZCardinals.com analysis: In a league where positional lines continue to get blurred, Simmons is the prototype. He would likely be designated an off-ball linebacker for the Cardinals, but many believe he has the skillset to rush the passer and also guard slot receivers. If Simmons lives up to that billing, he would be an exotic chess piece that defensive coordinator Vance Joseph could use in a variety of ways. The Cardinals struggled to cover tight ends a season ago, and Simmons would likely be an improvement in that area. It's unclear if Simmons will be available at No. 8, as many mock drafts have linked him to the Panthers at No. 7 as a Luke Kuechly replacement.

DT Javon Kinlaw
DT Javon Kinlaw

Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina defensive tackle

Chosen by: Charley Casserly, NFL.com

AZCardinals.com analysis: The Cardinals beefed up their defensive interior with the signing of Jordan Phillips in free agency, but could still stand to add to the group. Kinlaw was a late-riser who has shown the ability to pressure the quarterback from defensive tackle, which is a valuable trait in the NFL. Most projections don't have Kinlaw going this high, but if the Cardinals see star potential, it wouldn't be a shocking choice.

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