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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals Trade Down For Pass Rusher

The NFL is a few days away form free agency beginning, which for many teams shapes what will be their draft day plan. This could be very well what happens with the Arizona Cardinals. They could go a few different directions with their first round pick -- the 13th selection in the draft. Some mock drafts have them taking an offensive lineman while others project a receiver.

The latest mock draft projections by GreaZzy of Revenge of the Birds, the SB Nation Arizona Cardinals blog, has the Cardinals actually moving down and trading their pick to get more picks later on.

They trade their 13th pick to the Cincinnati Bengals, move down to number 17, picking up as well a second rounder (which they do not have this year because of the trade for Kevin Kolb) and perhaps another pick late in the draft.

The Bengals select RB Trent Richardson and the Cardinals just miss out on OT Jonathan Martin. Instead, they select DE/OLB Whitney Mercilus out of Illinios.

The Cardinals were one pick short of an ideal scenario were they replace their second rounder an still grab an elite tackle prospect. All is not lost however, as the talented Mercilus is a very good pick here for the Cards. Mercilus has all the tools you'd want in a 3-4 OLB, speed, strength, pass rushing ability, explosion, and while he is not elite in an category, he is above average in nearly all of them. Mercilus is best described as a "jack of all trades, but master of none". He is a well rounded prospect, who can be coached into become a great OLB.

Obviously, an offensive lineman is probably the most ideal selection, but you can never have enough pass rushers, and the Cardinals certainly could use more.

Could Mercilus be that guy? We will find out in April.

You can talk more Cardinals over at Revenge of the Birds.

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