The draft is finally here, and the NFL is fixated on what the Cardinals will do with the No. 1 overall pick. The majority of national pundits believe the team will choose a quarterback in the first round for the second straight season, but there has been recent speculation they could instead select an impact defender. Here is a look at many of the prominent mock draft choices heading into Thursday night’s first round:
QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma (picked by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, Pro Football Focus’ Cris Collinsworth, ESPN’s Todd McShay, NFL Network’s Charles Davis, Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier, NBC Sports’ Peter King, NFL.com’s Peter Schrager, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, The MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas, NFL.com’s Charley Casserly, USA Today’s Nate Davis, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks): The big-name draft pundits have connected Murray to the Cardinals for months. They believe the combination of Murray’s standout athletic traits, his pre-existing relationship with coach Kliff Kingsbury and his stylistic fit in the Air Raid offense make for an ideal marriage. It is rare for a team to select a potential franchise quarterback in back-to-back years, but even with Josh Rosen on the roster, these analysts believe Murray has star qualities too good to pass up.
DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama (picked by CBS Sports’ Will Brinson, NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund): Kingsbury and General Manager Steve Keim have spoken favorably of Williams, the impressive interior lineman prospect. The Cardinals face Rams superstar Aaron Donald twice a year and know how much of a difference an elite defensive tackle can make. The positional value is not as high as at quarterback, but if the front office is convinced Williams will be a game-wrecker, he could be in contention.
OLB Nick Bosa, Ohio State (picked by CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco, Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon): The player with the highest floor in the draft may be Bosa, as he showed standout ability at Ohio State and follows an impressive lineage into the NFL that includes his brother, current Chargers star edge-rusher Joey Bosa. The Cardinals have Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs as a formidable duo and the addition of Bosa would give the team an elite group to harass quarterbacks.
OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida at No. 4 overall (picked by Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko): This pick comes as the result of a mock trade in which Klemko has the Raiders dealing the No. 4 selection and more for the top choice. Taylor is projected to be one of the first tackles off the board. The Cardinals have D.J. Humphries and Marcus Gilbert as their starters, but both are in the final year of their contracts. The Cardinals are expected to bolster their offensive line in the draft, and Taylor would be a potential foundational piece on a line that has struggled in recent seasons.
Images of the players selected by the Cardinals in the first round since moving to Arizona in 1988