Mock drafts are all the craze in these days of the NFL lockout. Team blogs, fans and draft experts alike try to project how the NFL Draft will go at the end of next month. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay just released the fourth version of his mock draft (full version only visible if you are an ESPN Insider), this time going a full two rounds. In this version, the number one overall pick of the draft is not a quarterback, but rather Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. Likewise, this the first mock draft that has the Arizona Cardinals selecting someone other than Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller.
In this mock draft, Miller gets snatched up as the second pick, going to the Denver Broncos.
The Cardinals make a surprising pick with their selection at number five, being projected to take the controversial Auburn quarterback Cam Newton (Blaine Gabbert is projected to go number three to the Buffalo Bills). Here is what McShay said:
Gabbert would be the better choice if he's available. Miller would also be a consideration as a perfect fit at OLB in the Cardinals' 3-4 scheme. But Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt witnessed first hand the impact Ben Roethlisberger made in Pittsburgh and he knows what a quarterback of with Newton's size and mobility can do for an offense. If Arizona pulls the trigger on Newton expect its offense to be modeled after the system the Steelers have put in place for Big Ben.
This would truly be a surprise to Cardinals fans. Yes, Whisenhunt was at his Pro Day and was the only coach to go shake his hand and tell him he did a good job and yes he did break off the script and asked Newton to make a few throws on routes that the Cards like to run, but most fans believe this to be a smokescreen or a mind game.
But with the Cardinals' two top needs being a pass rusher and a quarterback and the one pass rusher that appears to be the perfect fit for their defensive scheme (Miller) already off the board, maybe it should not be a surprise.
While other mock drafts have quarterback Jake Locker going as high as number ten, in this one he falls to number 25 and stays in Washington, being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks.
Arizona Wildcat defensive end Brooks Reed sneaks into the first round and is projected to be drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
Quarterbacks are the talk of the second round. Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton all go in the first ten picks of the round, making the total number being six quarterbacks being drafted in the first 42 picks.
With their second pick, the Cardinals are projected to draft the number one rated tight end in the draft, Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph, leaving the pass rushing need to be addressed in later rounds or via free agency.