The 2011 NFL draft is now just a week away. The lockout is still on, so no other player movement is happening, so everyone is doing mock draft projections. Peter King and Todd McShay have both made their latest projections and these projections, at least from King, are new.
Todd McShay's mock draft has the Cardinals taking Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert. It is not the first time he has projected this. The strange thing is that Patrick Peterson is still on the board and ends up in San Francisco. I'm not sure why McShay projects this. Everything Ken Whisenhunt and even Larry Fitzgerald have said indicate the direction of the Cards is to get a guy who can impact the team year one. No one anywhere thinks that Gabbert will be able to do much in year one.
Here is what McShay says:
The Cardinals need an upgrade at quarterback, and while I've been told they are not that crazy about Gabbert or Newton, my gut feeling is that they will take the QB who's available.
So...the Cards will draft a guy they will pay a lot of money to, yet are not crazy about. Sounds a little crazy to me.
Peter King's mock draft has the Cardinals going a different direction. He has them going with Georgia WR A.J. Green. He has Cam Newton, Marcell Dareus, Von Miller and Blaine Gabbert going ahead of the Cardinals' pick. He does, though, think they should draft Patrick Peterson. Here is King's reasoning:
The way Arizona figures it, a veteran QB can be had at some point before the season to get Larry Fitzgerald the ball. What else would help the Cards' best player? The top-rated receiver on most teams' boards, who could further deflect attention from Fitzgerald. I'd prefer the best corner in the draft, to boost the 29th-rated defense, improve the athleticism in the secondary and help the return game.
Taking Green would be a surprise, but would not be a bad pick. Both Steve Breaston and Early Doucet are not under contract currently, so the receiving corp could get really thin if they leave. They would be left with Andre Roberts (who showed promise late in the year) and undrafted players Max Komar and Stephen Williams. That group is not going to scare many defenses in the league. Green would give the team potentially two elite receivers, including one (Green) who can get behind defenses with his speed.
Would I go offense with the number five pick? I would not. I'm not in love with any quarterback that high and the defensive players at the top of the draft are potentially dynamic (and the defense needs playmakers). If Miller, Dareus or Peterson were available, I think they have to go that route.
We will soon find out. Seven days remain until the big day arrives.