Arizona Cardinals: First round 2021 NFL Draft targets

2021 NFL mock draft prospect Jaycee Horn #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
2021 NFL mock draft prospect Jaycee Horn #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Jaycee Horn, 2021 NFL draft, nfl mock draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect Jaycee Horn (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

It’s no surprise the Arizona Cardinals are looking for a corner again, as they have been one piece away since the 2014 season where the top four corners included Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Jeraud Powers, and Justin Bethel. Prior to the 2021 NFL Draft the roster will include new addition Malcolm Butler, slot corner Byron Murphy, and the oft-injured Robert Alford. After these three the Cardinals roster only includes undrafted free agents Jace Whittaker and Picasso Nelson.

There are four targets I believe the Cardinals will give true first-round consideration, Jaycee Horn (South Carolina), Patrick Surtain II (Alabama), Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech), and Asante Samuel Jr. (Florida State).

Jaycee Horn

My number one corner throughout the draft process and a name that has been trending more and more as we approach the draft is Jaycee Horn, son of Former Saints Pro Bowler WR Joe Horn. Horn is the perfect fit for the Arizona Cardinals defense as he plays primarily press-man coverage and could be left on an island guarding X-receivers. He also is the ideal size to play this position in the NFL at 6’1″ 205 lbs.

He impresses with his ability to stick to receivers in man coverage and allows very little separation and is very aggressive at the catch point. His aggressive style is something that Vance Joseph looks for in all his corners but might be something he needs to control at the next level, as Horn may draw some penalties downfield. He will need to continue his progression at zone coverage and has some tackling concerns but overall has tremendous upside for the Cardinals scheme.

Patrick Surtain II

Surtain has bounced around the top three corners on most draft boards similarly to Horn and also has an NFL bloodline, with his father spending time at CB for the Dolphins and Chiefs. Similar in size to Horn, Surtain measurables come in at 6’2 208 lbs. Teams seem to see Surtain II as the safest option at cornerback in the 2021 NFL Draft and believe he should produce plenty of pro bowl seasons in the future.

He also projects best in press-man coverage but shows a little better reads in zone defense, than Horn, making him a little more versatile option. He tends to stick very close to receivers if he can disrupt them at the line of scrimmage, however, there are some concerns with his top-end speed if receivers get a free release. With the receivers the Cardinals must face on a yearly basis Surtain feels likes a good option 1b to Horn due to the speed NFC West receivers possess.