2021 NFL Draft Grade: Arizona Cardinals
Round 1 Pick 16: LB Zaven Collins
Round 2 Pick 49: WR Rondale Moore
Round 4 Pick 136: CB Marco Wilson
Round 6 Pick 210: DE Victor Dimukeje
Round 6 Pick 223: CB Tay Gowan
Round 7 Pick 243: S James Wiggins
Round 7 Pick 247: C Michal Menet
The Arizona Cardinals quietly had a pretty decent defense last season. However, the lack of turnovers and high penalty numbers held them back. Even with Patrick Peterson’s departure, the defense looks stronger in 2021 after bringing in J.J. Watt and Malcolm Butler.
Their first round pick of Zaven Collins should help, too. He is a physical freak and was a bigtime playmaker at Tulsa. Pairing Collins with Isaiah Simmons should create a linebacking duo that helps create more turnovers. The turnovers might still be an issue early on, but as they continue to develop, that will be a scary defense.
Marco Wilson and Tay Gowan are solid additions as well. Wilson has experience all over the secondary and brings amazing potential as a corner blitzer. That said, he does have questionable tendencies in coverage. He does not press very often as hands are inactive at the line of scrimmage, and at Florida he often waited 3-5 yards before engaging.
Gowan on the other hand is a player that I mocked in the third round before the draft. He is another casualty of the opt outs as his stock fell after an incredible 2019 season. Gowan has just one year of college football under his belt, but in that year he held opponents to just 40% pass completion. He has the potential to make a day one impact for the Cardinals.
Arizona’s offense got a very intriguing prospect as well with their second round pick of Rondale Moore. After Larry Fitzgerald’s retirement, there was a bit of a void at wide receiver opposite of DeAndre Hopkins. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I called this pick exactly in my mock draft. It makes a ton of sense. He fits in the slot perfectly for this offense, and with health questions constantly surrounding free agent acquisition, A.J. Green, extra depth never hurts.
The Cardinals got a few very interesting players in this draft. The Marco Wilson pick is my least favorite of this class, but he can at least provide some depth at cornerback. Rondale Moore and Zaven Collins will have an immediate role for this team which is exactly what you want out of the first two rounds. Not to mention, they got a potential star in the sixth round with Tay Gowan. It may take a year or two for him to catch up to the NFL level, but the potential and skills are there.