Published November 20, 2014
There are three positions that stand out as problem areas on Arizona's current roster, so expect the team to spend its No. 13 overall draft choice on either an offensive tackle, outside linebacker or wide receiver. Pass protection was a huge liability for the Cardinals in 2011, with the line's allowance of 54 sacks the second-highest total in the league, and obtaining a tackle that can step in alongside returnee Levi Brown and man either side is a must. The promise that youngsters Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield have displayed makes outside linebacker less of a trouble spot, but neither is a proven commodity and there's virtually no depth behind them. Arizona would likely take a hard look at South Carolina tweener Melvin Ingram, who fits the mold defensive coordinator Ray Horton looks for in an edge rusher, if he's still on the board when it selects. Though the Cards have one of the game's premier receivers in Larry Fitzgerald, another outside threat that can draw double teams away from the perennial All-Pro would further diversify the offense. Don't rule out general manager Rod Graves trading down in the first round as well, since the Cardinals sent this year's second- rounder to Philadelphia in last summer's deal for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Grabbing a developmental passer is also a possibility, as neither Kolb nor cohort John Skelton was particularly consistent under center this past season.
2011 Record: 8-8
Top Needs: OT, OLB, WR
First Three Picks: No. 13, No. 80, No. 112
Number of Selections: 7 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2011 - Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU); 2010 - Dan Williams (DT, Tennessee); 2009 - Chris "Beanie" Wells (RB, Ohio State); 2008 - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB, Tennessee State); 2007 - Levi Brown (OT, Penn State); 2006 - Matt Leinart (QB, USC); 2005 - Antrel Rolle (CB, Miami- Florida); 2004 - Larry Fitzgerald (WR, Pittsburgh), 2003 - Bryant Johnson (WR, Penn State), Calvin Pace (DE, Wake Forest).