NFL Draft Top 12 Mock: Cardinals Select T Mekhi Becton

Howard Balzer

There’s less than four weeks before the first day of the draft on April 23, which means with free agency winding down, the speculation and discussion will intensely ramp up.

We will be presenting a variety of opinions with mock drafts that naturally focus on the Arizona Cardinals. So, while we will present full first-round mocks as the draft draws nearer, for now we will concentrate on the first 12 selections.

The Cardinals pick eighth overall, so looking at the first dozen potential choices will provide a wide range of players they could be targeting. In addition, with their second-round pick sent to Houston in the DeAndre Hopkins trade, a trade down that could net a second-rounder cannot be ruled out.

Our scout in residence, Marc Lillibridge, a former NFL personnel executive, has an eye for talent and this top 12 is his. Each mock will also feature a video analysis from “Bridge” of the player listed for the Cardinals.

1. Cincinnati Bengals   Joe Burrow   LSU   QB

The Bengals have had Andy Dalton at the helm for a long time, but change is needed. The Bengals keep a player who grew up in Ohio home and have instant fan support. The Bengals have solid pieces in place to make a playoff push in 2020.

2. Washington Redskins   Jeff Okudah   Ohio State   CB

The best defensive player in the class, Okudah becomes the Alpha Dog for the Redskins defense. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will line him up vs. opposing teams’ No. 2 receiver all day and eliminate half the field.

3. Detroit Lions   Chase Young   Ohio State   OLB

Young is an athletic freak and instantly makes the Lions’ defense better. Young gives Defensive coordinator Cory Undlin flexibility on defense.

4. New York Giants   Tristan Wirfs   Iowa T

General manager Dave Gettleman improved the defense in free agency. Now, Gettleman protects his investment in quarterback Dan Jones by selecting a top-line left-tackle prospect and kicking Nate Solder to right tackle.

5. Miami Dolphins   Jordan Love   Utah State   QB

The fastest riser in the 2020 draft class. As executives dived into more tape, the more Love's physical and mental traits jump off the page.

6. Los Angeles Chargers   Tua Tagovailoa   Alabama   QB

With the Philip Rivers exiting via free agency, the Chargers need a quarterback of the future. Tua heads back closer to home and revitalizes a waning fan base for the Chargers as they move to the new Inglewood stadium.

7. Carolina Panthers   Derrick Brown   Auburn   DT

Brown is a game-changer on the inside and the Panthers need tons of help there, especially with the loss of Dontari Poe in free agency.

8. Arizona Cardinals   Mekhi Becton   Louisville   T

D.J. Humphries just signed a long-term deal, but drafting his replacement works here. Becton can start at right tackle or guard with the future geared toward left tackle.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars   Jerry Jeudy   Alabama   WR

In Jacksonville, the team needs a No. 1 receiver. Jeudy is a big, physical target who will become the go-to pass-catcher in the Jaguars’ offense.

10. Cleveland Browns   Andrew Thomas   Georgia   T

Thomas fills a need along the offensive line that needs to do better at protecting Baker Mayfield.

11. New York Jets   Isaiah Simmons   Clemson   OLB

The Jets have holes all over their defense. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams gets the best athlete in the draft and will use him in multiple roles.

12. Las Vegas Raiders   CeeDee Lamb   Oklahoma   WR

Whoever will be the quarterback, and with head coach Jon Gruden, you never know, the Raiders need a baller wide receiver. Lamb has speed, ball skills and moxie that Gruden will love.

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