NFL Arizona Cardinals

2014 NFL Draft: Arizona Cardinals’ Early Seven-Round Mock

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Arizona Cardinals' Seven-Round Mock

Via Cameron Erving’s Personal Facebook Page

Even though the Arizona Cardinals have quietly worked their way into the playoff picture, it’s never too early to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas they must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.

Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest concerns is left tackle. The Cardinals currently only have Bradley Sowell and Nate Potter as their blindside blockers, neither of who is capable of holding down the left side of the line. If Arizona plans on properly protecting their quarterback in 2014, a major upgrade must be made at left tackle.

Despite their need at left tackle, the Cardinals still have other questions in need of answers. Carson Palmer is currently starting at quarterback, but is nothing more than short-term fill-in until they find another capable passer. The Cardinals could also use a boost at the guard spot, where they’ve failed to get any consistent blocking. Even the tight end position could afford a few extra playmakers to help fill out the offense.

Either way, the Cardinals need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer Arizona an opportunity to upgrade their roster while addressing the problems that have cropped up during the season.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Cardinals could choose to do with their six current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.

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1st Round: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State

Via Cameron Erving’s Personal Facebook Page

If the Cardinals think that Sowell and Potter can hold down the blindside moving forward, they have another thing coming. They’ve gotten horrid blocking from the left tackle spot, and that needs to change if they want to be legitimate contenders in 2014. Erving, while still rather raw, is a prospect overflowing with potential. He’s a tremendous athlete with great footwork and quickness, excelling in pass protection. His run blocking will need some work, but Erving is a definite upgrade over anything the Cardinals currently have on their roster.

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2nd Round: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After solidifying the left tackle spot in the first round, the Cardinals should take a serious look at the quarterback spot and what the future holds. Palmer was nothing more than a stop-gap, which should lead Arizona to draft a young gunslinger like Murray. He’s a proven winner and confident leader, making smart decisions with the football. Although he doesn’t have the prototypical arm strength or size, Murray has outstanding football IQ and the mental makeup to shine in the NFL.

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3rd Round: Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas

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Even with two outstanding starters at defensive end, the Cardinals could still use some extra depth moving forward. Smith is a tenacious player whose motor never stops running. Although he isn’t a dynamic pass rusher, he has a solid set of moves and does a good job of putting consistent pressure on passers. Smith is also a versatile player who lined up at end, defensive tackle and linebacker during his days at Arkansas. He’s an exciting prospect who could contribute from Day 1 in Arizona.

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4th Round: Xavier Grimble, TE, USC

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s unfortunate how much of a disappointment Rob Housler has been with the Cardinals so far. He was expected to be a big receiving threat, but hasn’t quite panned out. Jim Dray is a decent tight end, but doesn’t bring anything spectacular to the table. By drafting a player like Grimble, the Cardinals would be getting a tight end who can fill multiple roles. He’s a strong blocker who does a great job of holding his ground, and has the athleticism to be a consistent option through the air.

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5th Round: Stephen Morris, QB, Miami (FL)

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Cardinals already grabbed one quarterback, taking the Washington Redskins approach couldn’t hurt considering their lack of potential at the position. Morris is a talented passer who has suffered from inconsistency throughout his college career. When he is on his game, though, the Hurricane can sling it. He has the arm to make all of the NFL throws and the athleticism to make plays outside of the pocket. The Cardinals need a backup plan for Murray, and Morris is a good one.

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6th Round: Chris Watt, G, Notre Dame

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The Cardinals will be getting Jonathan Cooper back in 2014, but apart from the promising youngster, there’s little to be excited about in terms of guard talent. They need to get Paul Fanaika out of the starting lineup while adding some quality depth to the roster. Watt is a big, physical guard who does a great job of creating holes in the running game. If he’s going to make an impact for the Cardinals, though, he’ll need to make major improvements on his technique and footwork.