LSU cornerback Jalen Collins is one of the top cornerbacks available in this year's draft.
The NFL draft will be held from April 30 through May 2 in Chicago. The Cardinals addressed several needs in free agency and are now zeroing in on their draft targets. We'll take a look at each position over the next few weeks.
Draft primer: Cornerback
Cardinals under contract: Patrick Peterson; Jerraud Powers; Justin Bethel; Roc Carmichael, Jimmy Legree; Damond Smith; Ross Weaver; Eddie Whitley; Darren Woodard.
A list of cornerbacks projected to be taken in the NFL draft
Analysis: Antonio Cromartie was given a lucrative four-year contract from the Jets in the offseason, taking away half of the Cardinals' Pro Bowl-starting cornerback duo. Patrick Peterson is back to lead the way and should once again face the opponent's star receiver much of the time. The Cardinals have some versatility at the position but could still use the addition of another player to round out the group. If Justin
Bethel improves enough to win the starting spot opposite Peterson, the Cardinals will be in good shape, leaving Jerraud Powers and Tyrann Mathieu to man the slot. If Powers wins the outside spot, it leaves the team thin at the position.
There are some talented cornerbacks who have been pegged for the early rounds of the draft. Michigan State's Trae Waynes is billed as the top cornerback and is expected to be gone before the Cardinals choose at No. 24. However, there could be some intriguing names still available, like Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson, Washington's Marcus Peters, LSU's Jalen Collins and Connecticut's Byron Jones.
The Cardinals have other needs – pass-rusher and running back chief among them – so they could also wait and take a cornerback later. There are 31 cornerbacks projected to be drafted, with multiple possibilities up and down each round. Coach Bruce Arians mentioned the possibility of drafting a player with punt or kick return abilities, and a speedy cornerback could fit that bill. The Cardinals have a void there after the release of wideout Ted Ginn this offseason.
The Cardinals have one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Peterson and other capable players at the position, but are short on numbers with the departure of Cromartie. General Manager Steve Keim could use one of his draft picks to fortify the position for 2015 and into the future.