1. First Round, 13th overall: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Luke Kuechly is one of the most productive linebackers I have ever seen at the college level. The Cardinals have a serious need at inside linebacker since Stewart Bradley flopped, and Kuechly would team up perfectly with Daryl Washington on the inside. They may even be able to move down a bit and still get him. I think with Jesse taking Riley Reiff off the board, it seems a bit unrealistic to think the Iowa offensive tackle will still be here for the Cards, but if he is, that’s almost a no-brainer selection. That said, Kuechly would bring a sense of identity to this Cardinals’ defense, which is improving significantly with the additions of Washington, Calais Campbell emerging on the defensive line, and Patrick Peterson as an up-and-coming star at cornerback. They could easily go with a pass rusher like Melvin Ingram or somebody here as well.
2. Third Round, 80th overall: James Brown, OL, Troy
Brown is a player on the rise who can play either guard position or potentially right tackle. He is not going to solve Arizona’s offensive line woes, but he can certainly help since they have a terrible unit. I think they will pretty much be looking for any kind of help they can possibly get, and I actually like Brown at this juncture. He is a long, athletic player with a lot of upside who will take some time to develop but might be forced into the rotation earlier than he should be.
3. Fourth Round, 112th overall: Jeff Allen, OL, Illinois
Allen is another guy who would be a potential fit at either guard position or possibly right tackle as well. He has really come on this offseason as a solid prospect and I think with the Cardinals, he would fit right in. They simply need to keep Kevin Kolb upright, so bringing in as many guys to protect him as they can find is something that will be more than necessary, since they failed to do so in free agency. I think he’s best suited at guard for the NFL game.
4. Fifth Round, 151st overall: Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
The Cardinals need to continue to add pass rushers, so getting a talented player like Irvin, despite his character, could be a very solid pick. Irvin was looking like he could be a first round pick after his junior season where he racked up sacks like crazy, but he still didn’t fit into a full-time role as a senior so he’s just a situational pass rusher at the next level, but he’s also very good at it. I think in the fifth round, he is a very good value.
5. Sixth Round, 177th overall (from Redskins): Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State
Datko has had some injury problems in his career, but in the sixth round he is worth a risk. The Cardinals, here, would be getting a potential starting offensive tackle or a guy who could also contribute on the interior if he is asked. Like I said before, you just have to surround Kevin Kolb with as many good offensive linemen as you can, so looking at a potential high upside guy late is a good idea.
6. Sixth Round, 185th overall: Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
Another very solid value in the later portions of the draft, Adams is a guy who brings a ton of speed and would upgrade the Cardinals’ offense late in the draft. I think their wide receiver depth has been seriously depleted over the last couple of years, and Adams is a player who can stretch the field or work the slot. In the sixth round, great value.
7. Seventh Round, 221st overall: Chase Ford, TE, Miami (FL)
In the seventh round, just go for players with a ton of upside. Ford has solid athletic ability and could be a very nice addition as a pass catching tight end. He has good size and if he’s developed correctly, he could be a steal in the seventh round.