Arizona Cardinals 2022 NFL mock draft: Team addresses cornerback, offensive line needs

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Early 2022 NFL mock drafts are out (really, really early) and they offer some insight into where the Arizona Cardinals could potentially pick in the 2022 NFL draft and who the team could potentially take.

NFL writers have Arizona picking as early as No. 10 in their early 2022 NFL draft projections, and as late as No. 27.

No. 10 would mean they didn't have a very good season (the team had the No. 16 pick in the 2021 NFL draft after going 8-8).

No. 27 would mean the team had an excellent season (the Baltimore Ravens had that pick this season).

Cornerbacks, offensive linemen and wide receivers are popular picks for Arizona in early mock drafts for next year.

Will any of these projections end up being right?

More:Arizona Cardinals NFL draft grades: Steve Keim's 2021 selections draw praise, scrutiny

Walter Football: Cardinals select Florida CB Kaiir Elam at No. 10

Charlie Campbell writes: "The Cardinals will have to find a replacement for the departed Patrick Peterson. Elam played well in 2020, recording 39 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes broken up. The 6-foot-1, 187-pounder was fantastic as a freshman, flashing serious ball skills even though he had a part-time role. Elam has good height and length with quickness. He could stand to fill out his frame, but considering he is only a true sophomore, he has plenty of time to do it. With his skill set and upside, he could explode."

Bleacher Report: Cardinals pick Ohio State WR Chris Olave at No. 13

Brent Sobleski writes: "Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury can't have too many talented weapons in his offense. While this is true in most cases, the team's selection of Ohio State's Chris Olave is a safeguard against what could happen to the Cardinals' current receiving corps next offseason. A.J. Green isn't signed beyond the 2021 campaign. Christian Kirk is scheduled to become a free agent as well. So, a position of strength could turn into a significant need rather quickly.  Olave is a silky smooth route-runner who glides all over the field. The combination allows him to create significant separation on a consistent basis. As such, the first-team All-Big Ten receiver finished second in the nation with a 143.4 passer rating when targeted, per Pro Football Focus."

Sporting News: Cardinals take USC edge rusher Drake Jackson at No. 13

Vinnie Iyer writes: "The Cardinals ignored the pass rush early despite having a present and future need, so they should get to know Jackson as a prospect pretty quickly."

More:2022 NFL draft: Spencer Rattler, Kedon Slovis, Tyler Shough, Brock Purdy among top QBs

NBC Sports: Cardinals end up with Tennessee OL Case Mays at No. 13

Derrik Klassen writes: "Mays has been a long-time force in the SEC. After starting for two seasons at Georgia, Mays returned home to Tennessee, where he instantly snatched a starting guard spot. Whether or not the Cardinals will actually invest in the OL, who knows, but they could use a guard and Mays’ blend of power and flexibility is enticing. Mays has also spent some amount of time at all five OL spots, so trying to fit him into the lineup should never be an issue."

The Game Haus: Cardinals take Texas A&M DE Demarvin Leal at No. 13

Joe DiTullio writes: "Both J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones are aging and the Cardinals need to find someone new to get after the quarterback."

More:NFL power rankings: Arizona Cardinals fall after 2021 NFL draft selections

CBS Sports: Cardinals select Clemson RB Isaiah Spiller at No. 14

Ryan Wilson writes: "Spiller is in the running for RB1 after two years for A&M where he's averaged nearly 1,000 rushing yards a season to go along with 19 rushing TDs while averaging 5.5 yards per catch."

Ohio State cornerback Sevyn Banks tackles Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Jan. 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Banks is a popular pick for the Arizona Cardinals in early 2022 NFL draft projections.

Sports Illustrated: Cardinals go with Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr. at No. 14

Jack Borowsky writes: "Arizona didn’t address cornerback at the top of the 2021 draft, so they’ll be looking to do so in 2022. Booth Jr. is a better prospect than AJ Terell. He is sticky in coverage and is a playmaker. If teams throw his way, Booth Jr. will be a turnover machine next season."

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Yardbarker: Cardinals pick Alabama O-lineman Evan Neal at No. 14

Seth Trachtman writes: "Neal is a massive prospect who has started at both guard and tackle for the Cardinals. He should be considered one of the top offensive line prospects in next year's draft."

Draft Kings: Cardinals land Florida CB Kaiir Elam at No. 14

Collin Sherwin writes: "Big, physical, can be a shutdown corner at the next level and has good ball skills. He should translate."

More:Arizona Cardinals 2021 NFL draft grades: Florida's Marco Wilson a steal in fourth round?

Pro Football Network: Cardinals go with Georgia WR George Pickens at No. 16

Oliver Hodgkinson writes: "There are possibly bigger needs to be addressed for the Arizona Cardinals. That said, you have to assume that Larry Fitzgerald retires at the end of 2021 if he hasn’t already done so by then. A.J. Green is now in on a one-year deal, so it’s uncertain if he stays past 2021. Although they have DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk, adding Georgia wide receiver George Pickens to a Kyler Murray-led offense would be devastating to the rest of the NFL. Pickens is a physical pass catcher with excellent body control and represents a contested-catch nightmare."

The Sports Bank: Cardinals go with Alabama guard Evan Neal at No. 20

Paul Banks writes: "360-pound lineman who can move very well, which almost seems impossible."

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Fox Sports: Cardinals take Ohio State CB Sevyn Banks at No. 25

Jason McIntyre writes: "I'm not putting Banks in the class of Denzel Ward, Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette and Marshon Lattimore, but Ohio State has a nose for elite CBs. Banks has flashed big-play ability, yet has some work to do to get into the first round."

Sportsnaut: Cardinals take Ohio State CB Sevyn Banks at No. 27

Matt Johnson writes: "At this point in a 2022 NFL mock draft, it’s about betting on potential. Sevyn Banks, a four-star recruit in 2018, boasts the size (6-foot-1) and speed (4.5 40-yard dash) you look for in a prototypical cornerback. An honorable mention on Pro Football Focus’s All-Big Ten Team, Banks was one of Ohio State’s best defenders this past season. If he takes another step forward in his senior year, Banks will be a first-round pick."

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