2019 Draft Needs: Arizona Cardinals

The biggest need, the hidden need and what else the Cardinals should be looking for in the 2019 draft.
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Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling are breaking down draft needs for all 32 teams. You can also see every team in a single post here.

Biggest Need: Shifty Wide Receiver
Look, if the Cardinals are head over heels for Kyler Murray, fine—take him. But with Josh Rosen aboard we can’t pretend “quarterback” is their biggest need, or even a need at all.

No one knows exactly how Kliff Kingsbury’s system will look in the NFL, but it presumably will involve a quick-strike passing game. That minimizes the demands on Arizona’s much-maligned offensive line. (A line that, it should be noted, can improve dramatically in 2019 with everyone healthy, center Mason Cole entering Year Two and ex-Steeler Marcus Gilbert stabilizing the right tackle spot.)

If you’re throwing the ball before your protection even has a chance to break down, you need quick, shifty receivers who can get open early in the down and produce yards after catch. Second-year man Christian Kirk appears to be one (though technically the jury is still out because so much of his production last year on highly schemed downfield designs, not one-on-one scenarios). Injury-prone ex-Bear Kevin White is not a quick, shifty weapon, and neither is Larry Fitzgerald (not to say the savvy future first ballot Hall of Famer won’t still find a way to prosper under Kingsbury). The Cards need a movable lightning bug receiver who can win from spread formations.

Hidden Need: Offensive Tackle
D.J. Humphries on the left side and Marcus Gilbert on the right are suitable for 2019, but it may be difficult to re-sign both men after this season (if the Cards will even want to, that is). Humphries has played just 27 games in four years, thanks largely to injuries; Gilbert is 31 and has battled injuries, as well.

Also Looking For: Interior Pass Rusher
About three times a game, Robert Nkemdiche (when he’s on the active roster, that is) gets off the ball with as strong a burst as anyone not named Aaron Donald. Unfortunately, that leaves about 62 other snaps in question. The Cards should keep an eye out for a consistent interior gap-shooter to pair with underrated veteran Corey Peters.

Who They Can Get
Even if Arizona goes with Kyler Murray at 1, they still have a de facto first-rounder with Pick 33 and will likely scoop up another top-50 pick (if not a first-rounder) when they deal Josh Rosen. In other words, they'll have options. Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown, diminutive but shifty and fast, could still be on the board at No. 33. South Carolina's Deebo Samuel is an option if he's not, and Day 2 will be rich with shifty receivers (Georgia's Mecole Hardman and Umass's Andy Isabella, to name two). This is also the range for Kansas State OL Dalton Risner, who has enough length to get by at tackle but could also play inside while things shake out with Humphries and Gilbert. If they deal the No. 1 pick (Raiders? Giants?) they could conceivably stay in the top 10 and get their hands on Houston's Ed Oliver or Clemson's Christian Wilkins to create interior pressure. Even better if they stay top five, in which case Alabama's Quinnen Williams is within reach.

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