NFL mock draft: Will Clemson's Isaiah Simmons be on board for Arizona Cardinals at No. 8?

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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The Arizona Cardinals could have a very big decision on their hands during the first round of the NFL draft.

Should the team select Kyler Murray's former teammate at Oklahoma, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, giving the quarterback another weapon on offense?

Or should it take an offensive lineman to help protect Murray?

Or, should it help the defense by adding a dynamic player on that side of the football?

The Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman recently shared his thoughts in a roundtable discussion.

He thinks the team would go with Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons at No. 8, if Simmons is available when the team picks.

"If Isaiah Simmons falls to them, I think they take Isaiah Simmons," McManaman said. "I don't really think an offensive tackle is that glaring of a need right now as much as everyone outside this organization seems to think it is. It still very well may be a lineman, but you've got a left tackle, you've got a right tackle coming back in Justin Murray, I don't think it's imperative."

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McManaman doubled down on that Simmons prediction in his latest NFL mock draft, projecting the Cardinals to land Simmons.

He wrote : "Previously, the choice here was Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb. He’s still available, but will the Cardinals take him after that steal of a trade for DeAndre Hopkins? It could happen, yes, and a lot of people would love it, including me. What’s wrong with doubling down on offense? In Simmons, though, Arizona gets another steal in a multi-positional playmaker who can do everything. Remember, free-agent addition De’Vondre Campbell only signed a one-year deal. Simmons gives them a long-term answer who can play inside backer, rush the passer, cover tight ends, and drop back and cover deeper passing routes, too. He’s a bigger, meaner version of the Honey Badger. An offensive lineman is an option here, but maybe less likely if Simmons is still on the board."

Will Simmons still be on the board for the Cardinals at No. 8?

There appears to be a difference of opinion on the answer.

SB Nation's Dan Kadar thinks he'll still be there at No. 8, but he has the Cardinals taking Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs with that pick. Simmons goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 9 in his mock draft.

He wrote: "The Cardinals can continue building out their offense with a plug-and-play right tackle like Wirfs. He would bookend with D.J. Humphries and give Kyler Murray time to complete throws to his impressive group of receivers."

Will Isaiah Simmons still be available when the Arizona Cardinals make the No. 8 overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft?'s Chad Reuter has Simmons not getting picked until No. 11 in his latest mock draft.

But he has the Cardinals trading down to No. 15 to acquire some extra picks from the Denver Broncos.

At No. 15, he has Arizona taking Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills, Jr.

He wrote: "After acquiring DeAndre Hopkins, the Cards are in position to move down (getting two third-round picks in the trade) and still meet their top need. Wills steps in at right tackle to join D.J. Humphries in protecting Kyler Murray."

Many NFL pundits predict that Simmons will be gone before the Cardinals pick at No. 8.

CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson has the Cardinals taking Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas after Simmons goes to the Lions at No. 5.

He wrote: "The Cardinals need to get better up front; the O-line ranked 21st in run blocking and 26th in pass blocking, according to Football Outsiders. Andrew Thomas was a three-year starter at Georgia where he was dominant at times in protecting Jake Fromm and blocking for D'Andre Swift."

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The Chicago Tribune has Arizona going with Wills after Simmons lands with the Carolina Panthers at No. 7

Brad Biggs wrote: "The Cardinals gave Kyler Murray a top-notch target in DeAndre Hopkins when they fleeced the Texans. It’s time to add some protection for the quarterback."

USA TODAY Sports has Simmons going at No. 5, and the Cardinals taking Wirfs at No. 8.

Nate Davis wrote: "One of the combine's stars – Wirfs' broad (10-1) and vertical jumps (36½ inches) are all-time event standards for offensive linemen – this exceptional athlete would plug in nicely to an Air Raid offense designed for a quick pace. And though Wirfs clearly has the goods to play tackle, Arizona could start him inside after re-signing OTs D.J. Humphries and Marcus Gilbert." projects Simmons to land with the Panthers at No. 7 and has Arizona selecting Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton at No. 8.

Cynthia Frelund wrote: "Adding ( stealing) DeAndre Hopkins and then drafting Becton increases the Cardinals' win-total projection by more than two Ws in my model. That's a really big jump. Becton's athleticism fits the projected pace of play in this Kliff Kingsbury/ Kyler Murray system very well."

Draft Wire has the Cardinals going with Wills after Simmons lands with the Panthers one pick before Arizona.

Luke Easterling wrote: "After trading for DeAndre Hopkins, the Cards aren’t likely to spend a top-10 pick on another pass-catcher, no matter how much Kyler Murray might like to throw to CeeDee Lamb again. Instead, the Cards opt to improve the protection for their young quarterback. With D.J. Humphries back, Wills slides in as the immediate starter at right tackle."

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