After loading up on veteran reinforcements this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals will add their new class of rookies in less than two weeks. April 29 is the beginning of the three-day draft and the Cardinals have the 16th pick in the first round along with selections in the second, fifth and two in the seventh round.
Mock drafts as far as the eye can see were released on Monday, and with just under 10 days until the event begins, let's look at 10 players major outlets, including SI.com, have linked to Arizona.
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina: Yahoo Sports, USA Today
Horn remains a default go-to for Arizona, and we have looked at his fit with the Cardinals before. He is a physical cornerback with good speed and ball skills whose father, Joe Horn, played in the NFL for over a decade as a wide receiver.
However, some recent trades have added a wrinkle to this pick. The Carolina Panthers traded for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and may be out of the market for a quarterback at pick No. 8. SI.com's latest NFL Draft Bible mock has Carolina taking Horn. The Philadelphia Eagles traded back to pick No. 12, and could also use a cornerback.
Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern: SI.com, The Athletic
As more mocks have Horn rising, Newsome has become an increasingly popular prediction here. The Cardinals signed corners Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford on one-year deals this offseason, but need a younger, long-term solution.
Newsome dominated in single-man coverage last year, allowing just 93 receiving yards in six games. He also brings a lot of speed as shown by his 4.31 unofficial 40-yard dash time. More on his fit here.
Azeez Ojulari, LB, Georgia: Sporting News
The caveat with this projection was that Sporting News simulated the NFL Draft on the video game "Madden." Still, this is not an unreasonable outcome.
Ojulari is an explosive edge rusher who had the fourth-highest pressure rate in college football last season, per Pro Football Focus. The Cardinals have some depth on the edge with Chandler Jones, Markus Golden, Devon Kennard and Dennis Gardeck, along with J.J. Watt who will likely play multiple positions this year. Ojulari would be a spark plug for the pass rush and could grow his game under some of the NFL's most decorated defenders.
Alijah Vera-Tucker, T, USC: CBS Sports
The Cardinals have more pressing needs for the 2021 season at cornerback and wide receiver. But, if the top players at those spots are taken, this pick represents building the line for the future.
Vera-Tucker played significant snaps at both left guard and left tackle at USC, earning All-Pac 12 first-team honors in 2020. The Cardinals line is veteran-heavy, which could give Vera-Tucker the chance to ease into the lineup and potentially take over a spot by the end of the season or going into 2022. Left guard Justin Pugh's dead cap hit for 2022 is just $2 million, and right guard and tackle could be wide open by then as well.
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State: Pro Football Focus
Parsons would continue to add versatility to a defense that has targeted players with that trait in recent years. He can play either inside or on the edge, similar to 2020 Cardinals first-round pick Isaiah Simmons.
His combination of speed and strength have him as a projected top-10 pick by many outlets. If he slides to 16, those abilities could make it difficult for the Cardinals to pass on him, regardless of who is still on the board.
Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech: ESPN, Draft Wire
ESPN's Mel Kiper released his latest mock draft last week, the only projection in this article not from Monday. He gave another cornerback option for the Cardinals in the first round. He wrote that Farley is his top-rated corner, but injuries could scare teams off. Farley missed his Pro Day due to back surgery this offseason.
Farley allowed the lowest passer rating among all Power-5 corners in 2019, per PFF. He has good size at 6-foot-2 and has shown strong ball skills. His draft spot depends on how serious teams believe his injury concerns are going forward.
Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse: CBS Sports
Yet another corner. CBS Sports had the Cardinals filling this need in the second round after taking Vera-Tucker in the first.
Melifonwu is even bigger than Farley at 6-foot-2.5 and 205 pounds, albeit with shorter arms. NFL Media's Lance Zierlein said Melifonwu has the size and toughness of a safety and projects as a strong press corner. He gave praise to Melifonwu's tackling ability and overall athleticism, but criticized his man-on-man coverage.
Jackson Carman, OL, Clemson: SI.com
SI's Cory McCann Ezring projected Arizona to go with Newsome in the first round and to add offensive line help in the second.
Carman played tackle for Clemson, but Zierlein projects him to move inside and be an emergency tackle. Similar to the Vera-Tucker projection, the Cardinals could use a versatile lineman like Carman for depth this season and to develop going forward.
Josh Jones, Arizona's third-round pick in 2020, fits that mold as well, since he can play tackle and guard and got his feet wet in a limited role last year.
Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville: ESPN
Kiper had the Cardinals filling the cornerback hole early, and went with the speedy slot corner in the second round. The Cardinals added veteran receiver A.J. Green this offseason to pair with DeAndre Hopkins on the outside.
Atwell is 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, so relying on him in the slot could be risky against NFL defenders. The upside here is with his breakaway speed and ability to create separation down the field. He could be someone for quarterback Kyler Murray to air the ball out to.
Kenny Yeboah, TE, Mississippi: CBS Sports
CBS published a seven-round mock on Monday, and had the Cardinals going tight end with their fifth-round pick.
Yeboah is 30 pounds heavier than Arnold, which gives him higher potential as a blocker. Zierlein pointed out that Yeboah has the speed and ball skills to make plays downfield like Arnold did last year, but has a drops issue with simpler passes.