While there is a lot of focus on the looming start of free agency, the draft is also getting closer. The Cardinals are slated to pick at No. 16 overall and continue to be linked to a variety of cornerbacks as well as players at other positions of need.
Here is a look at mock draft projections from a variety of NFL analysts.
CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina (chosen by Todd McShay, ESPN; Mel Kiper, Jr., ESPN; Chad Reuter, NFL.com; Doug Farrar, USA Today; Pete Prisco, CBS Sports): Horn is getting plenty of buzz to land with the Cardinals, as they need help at the position, particularly if Patrick Peterson leaves in free agency. The son of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn, Jaycee was a three-year starter who is projected to be one of the first cornerbacks off the board. At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he has a solid frame and showed sticky coverage ability.
G Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC (chosen by Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com; Chris Burke, The Athletic; Nate Davis, USA Today; Matt Miller, The Draft Scout): Vera-Tucker played left tackle at USC this season, though he is projected to play guard in the NFL. That type of versatility is highly sought after, as players often move around due to injuries. Vera-Tucker is known as an athletic prospect who excels as a run-blocker. The Cardinals have options at guard for next season, but if GM Steve Keim likes the potential of Vera-Tucker, he could also be added to that mix.
T Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (chosen by Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com; Charlie Casserly, NFL.com): Darrisaw wasn't highly recruited out of high school but transformed into one of the top tackle prospects in the draft by the end of his college career. The second-team All-American didn't allow a sack as a senior and is also know as a top-tier run-blocker. The Cardinals have a long-term right tackle option on the roster in last year's third-round pick, Josh Jones, but he's yet to start an NFL game.
CB Patrick Surtain, Alabama (chosen by Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com; Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports): At 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, Surtain has ideal size for the position and has earned positive reviews for his man-coverage skills, which would fit in well with the Cardinals' scheme. Surtain is the son of the longtime NFL cornerback with the same name. He is an outside cornerback, which is the Cardinals' biggest positional need prior to free agency.
DE Kwity Paye, Michigan (chosen by Cody Benjamin, CBS Sports; Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com): The Cardinals have a pair of premier pass-rushers in Chandler Jones and J.J. Watt, but both are on the back-end of their careers. The team may have more pressing needs in 2021, but the draft is a time to consider both the present and the future. Even though Paye didn't have more than 6.5 sacks in a season in college, scouts believe he has a lot of untapped upside. There wouldn't be a better duo to learn from than Jones and Watt.