The /nfl/article/nfc-west/arizona-cardinals/arizona-cardinals-needs-pre-draft-r142/” rel=””>NFL Draft day needs. Even though the ‘Birds of Prey’ only had six picks due to a trade, sending their second-round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for Chandler Jones, they did a great job of filling every major hole on both sides of the ball.
The Cardinals’ biggest splash came in the first round with their selection of Robert Nkemdiche – one of the more physically gifted defensive tackles to come out of the draft in a long time. The Ole Miss prospect dropped in the draft due to off-the-field issues as well as an unusually strong class for the position. The Cardinals also chose three defensive backs – two cornerbacks, Brandon Williams and Harlan Miller, and safety Marqui Christian. Already boasting one of the league’s top secondary units, Arizona looks set on making sure that stays the same. On the other side of the ball, general manager Steve Keim addressed the offensive line. Carson Palmer will potentially be taking snaps from fourth-round pick Evan Boehm starting Week 1. Cole Toner was drafted out of Harvard in the fifth round to push D.J. Humphries for the starting right tackle job.
While there are no more glaring holes on either side of the ball, the Cardinals could still benefit from solidifying a few more positions.
This was the biggest need for the Cardinals heading into the draft. But when the 29th pick came around and Nkemdiche was still on the board, it made way too much sense to take him. While Arizona did draft two cornerbacks, Williams only played the position for one year in college, and Miller played at Southeastern Louisiana – certainly not against NFL-level competition. It would be wise for the organization to bring in a veteran to play opposite Patrick Peterson, at least until they know what they have in their two rookies.
Injuries aside, Carson Palmer has played MVP qualify football for the last two seasons. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game – and often times, an aspect that can’t be predicted. While the Cardinals are hoping Palmer can stay on the field for all 16+ games this year, it would be wise to invest in a quality backup so Drew Stanton doesn’t have to take any snaps.
Last year, the Cardinals drafted D.J. Humphries in the first round. In the 2016 draft, after a season full of reports of Humphries’ poor work ethic, the team drafted Toner in the fifth-round. While the two figure to battle it out for the starting position, neither are a sure thing. Humphries has all the talent to be a franchise tackle, but according to players in the locker room, is a liability. Toner could develop into quite the pass-blocker, but appears too raw and stiff at the moment. If neither player is ready come Week 1, someone will need to be brought in to hold down the edge against the NFC West’s pass-rushers.