I've been living in Arizona for almost five years now, and although it's impossible to live up to a fan base such as that of the Chiefs, admittedly the Cardinals have been a fun team to watch. I've had the pleasure of watching a few truly great careers end in Phoenix, such as Kurt Warner, Emmitt Smith, and Donovan McNabb.
I've made a few great friends who are Cardinals fans, including one in particular whom we will call Diego. Let's set the record straight right now, Diego's mom is hot. So hot in fact that I took it upon myself to remind him of this when he introduced me to the time waster known as Halo, by naming my character "F****dDiegosMom."
Diego is a good sport, and enjoyed the opportunity to provide input as to who the Cardinals will select in this year's AP mock draft. I will reward him (and maybe even his mom) with the privilege of attending his first Cards game this season with me when they square off with our beloved Chiefs in Phoenix.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get much help from our friends over at Revenge of the Birds. No easy way to find the perfect pick here. In my eyes, because I'm the GM, the Cardinals have a good team with holes, while also playing in currently the toughest division in the NFL.
They need a safety to pair with Tyrann Mathieu. Carson Palmer is the most serviceable QB they've had since Warner, but he is clearly not their long term solution. Their o-line is improved with the addition of Jared Veldheer from Oakland, but still has holes. Although their defense in strong in general, the pass rush in particular needs to be improved for them to take a step forward.
Where does this leave me at pick No. 20? The only safeties I deem worthy of this pick are gone, there's been a rush on o-lineman and CBs, and none of the top three big name QBs have slipped through the cracks. Mel Kipper has Arizona picking QB Derek Carr here, but ... well, screw him. This is my team for today, and with the 20th pick in the 2014 Arrowhead Pride mock draft, the Arizona Cardinals select ...
Auburn DE Dee Ford
Although Ford has increased his draft stock with a strong finish to the season and a superior Senior Bowl performance, most of the knocks on him come from him being undersized for the NFL DE position. Still, he is the best pass rusher available to Arizona in this scenario, and they will have the opportunity, assuming they don't allow me to pick any further, to take advantage of a talented draft and select a few DBs and o-lineman in the following rounds.
The ability to disrupt the opposing QB (not necessarily always resulting in a sack) can be argued as equally valuable as top notch play from the QB himself. This task isn't solely the job of the big men up front, but that's where it starts. Ford's proven that he has the motor and work ethic to take a chance on, gives the Cardinals a young and hungry addition to their D-line, and has a ton of developmental potential in the years ahead.
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