The Arizona Cardinals are set to pick first in the upcoming NFL Draft. With a 3-13 regular season record a season ago, the Cardinals needs are widespread. They were last in both yards gained from scrimmage and scoring. Defensively wasn't much better, ranked 26th in points per game and 20th in yards allowed. So which players are on the top of the Cardinals' radar?
Kyler Murray - QB (Oklahoma)
Do the Cardinals go with the nearly consensus number one pick overall in Murray or trade down for more picks? In choosing Murray, the Cardinals would be getting a dynamic quarterback much in the same build and athleticism as Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. Murray threw for 686 yards and ran for 335 over eight games at Texas A&M in 2015. After not appearing in a game in 2016, Murray saw limited action in seven games with Oklahoma in 2017, rushing for 142 yards and throwing for 359. He blossomed last season, drawing widespread attention from NFL scouts. Murray completed nearly 70 percent of his 377 passes for 4361 yards and 42 touchdowns. He also used his legs, surpassing 1000 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. The Cardinals will either draft Murray or trade down for likely huge return.
Nick Bosa - DE (Ohio State)
Should the Cardinals trade their first pick, Bosa would be an excellent first pick if he's on the board. Arizona had 49 sacks last season, but no player had more than 4 1/2. The need for a big time pass rusher would be filled with Bosa. He recorded five sacks in 12 games as a freshman in 2016 and 8 1/2 sacks in 14 games as a sophomore. Bosa was off to a remarkable start in 2018, recording four sacks and six tackles for loss in three games before going down for the rest of the season with an injury. Bosa should be back full force from his core muscle injury that required surgery and is clearly in a class by himself among defensive ends in this year's draft.
Jawaan Taylor - OT (Florida), Cody Ford - OT/OG (Oklahoma)
Taylor and Ford are grouped together because they both would fill the need of improving pass protection. Cardinals' signal callers were sacked 52 times. Taylor is huge at 6' 5" and 334 pounds, but has real quick feet, which is paramount to handle speed rushers. He has the potential to be one of the top run blockers in the league with his excellent power, but needs to perfect techniques in order to avoid help from the guard.
Ford was limited to three games in 2016 after suffering a broken leg against Ohio State. After playing 12 games at both guard and tackle in 2017, Ford moved to right tackle for the 2018 season, where he was named to the All-Big 12 team. At 6' 4" and 329 pounds, Ford displays a great combination of size, strength and athleticism. He has good lateral quickness to get out and block on the screen pass and strength to open up gaps at the line of scrimmage. Ford does need some improvement in his pass blocking, but has enough power and mobility to improve.
Riley Ridley - WR (Georgia), Marquise Brown - WR (Oklahoma)
Veteran Larry Fitzgerald returns after a 69 reception season in 2018. However, the Cardinals are clearly in need of another quality receiver for next season and as eventual replacement for Fitzgerald. Riley Ridley and Marquise Brown are two receivers that could fill the void.
Ridley caught a modest 26 passes in 14 games over the 2016 and 2017 season combined. However, he exploded last season in his junior season, hauling in 43 for 559 yards and nine touchdowns. Ridley has good size at 6' 1" and 200 pounds. He uses his size and excellent hands well in hauling in tough passes in traffic. While he doesn't have the best speed, Ridley has the knack to get open in tight coverage and could be a solid number two receiver in the NFL.
Where Ridley is more of a possession and number two receiver, Brown has the potential to be a NFL number one. He hauled in 132 passes for 2413 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons at Oklahoma. Although undersized at 5' 9" and 170 pounds, Brown has plenty of speed to break a long one on any given play. His rather skinny frame hurts him in passes thrown in traffic, but he can increase strength an size in strength training during the off season. Brown has a shot at having significant NFL impact at some point.
Best of the rest:
Isaiah Johnson - CB (Houston)
Amani Oruwariye - CB (Penn State)
Kevin Givens - DL (Penn State)