The 2017 NFL Draft is down to just a few days away. As the tension mounts, like a torrential hurricane forming in the Pacific Northwest, the impact from the draft for some teams will be just as profound. Whether good or bad, the results of the draft could very well determine a team’s season outcome even before the start of the NFL season.
This year’s draft is literally abounded with young, prospective talent. In fact, this could be the most talented draft lineup the league has seen in years. Determining how a player’s talent will materialize from college to the pros is perhaps the most difficult facet of the draft. Also difficult is selecting the appropriate fit for a team’s most pressing of needs. Pre-draft research is essential but isn’t always the cure-all. Sometimes you just get lucky. For the Arizona Cardinals, a little luck could go a very long way.
Arizona Cardinals 2017 NFL Draft: Top 3 Needs
“We feel like in every round we can get a guy with some value,” said general manager Steve Keim.
The Cardinals have the 13th pick in the first round. Along with this one, the team has eight draft picks altogether. This should ensure the abilities of the Cardinals to achieve much more than their 7-8-1 finish of last season and maybe even a seeding in the playoffs, or maybe even a shot at the…well, let’s not count our chickens just yet.
Obviously, in order to improve anything of last season, the Cardinals organization must focus on the most important needs of the team. Concentrating on the future is vital, but the core of the Cardinals (especially on offense) is growing old. For some players, this will be their final season. Instead of the future, in this year’s draft, the Cardinals must focus more so on the “now.”
Here are the glaring needs that the Cardinals most need to address.
After losing five starting defensive players to free agency, the Cardinals first round pick will most likely be utilized to help fill this gap. Looking at the prospects for this position, Steve Keim is really keen on linebacker Reuben Foster out of Alabama. Foster failed a drug test at the Combine (diluted sample) and may have jeopardized his chances of being picked in the top ten of the draft. If Foster is not available at 13, the Cardinals may go with Temple linebacker Haason Reddick.
The wide receiver position may not appear to be such a dire need for the Cardinals. In fact, the talent already on the roster should be enough for any team to have success. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald is likely on his final year with the team. There are at least three wide receivers (Mike Williams out of Clemson, Corey Davis out of Central Michigan, and John Ross out of Washington) that could go within the top ten spots of the draft. Some analysts are even predicting the Cardinals will take tight end O.J. Howard out of Alabama. If any of these players happen to fall to the 13th spot, the Cardinals will have to make the grab.
One of the top three needs for the Cardinals would have to be focused on the offensive line. Protecting quarterback Carson Palmer and creating run-through gaps for star running back David Johnson is essential to the team’s success. Having a surplus of fresh offensive linemen insures a productive, high-scoring offense on the field. This issue should be addressed maybe in the second round. The Cardinals are interested in Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk or even Alabama’s Cam Robinson, but it is unlikely that either of these players will be available for the 45th overall pick in round two.
Condolences to former Arizona Cardinals and ASU tight end Todd Heap and his family and the lasting hardships that they must now endure. Nothing compares to the horrific impact of losing a loved one, especially when it’s your own child. We at LWOS wish you and yours only the very best.