With the seventh pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the Arizona Cardinals select Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson. Reno09 is serving as the Cardinals' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
The Cardinals recently acquired Carson Palmer from the Oakland Raiders for a conditional seventh-round pick. This makes it hard for me to believe that the Cardinals are serious about taking Geno Smith with the seventh overall pick. It is no secret that they have not had a legitimate QB since Kurt Warner retired. But what is the point of having a good QB when there is no one to protect him anyway? The Cardinals started four different QBs last year and were sacked an astounding 58 times between the four of them. No other team really came close to that mark. I see the Cardinals using their first-round pick on one of the three elite LTs in this draft class.
They now have Palmer, Drew Stanton and Brian Hoyer on the roster, and it is looking like it is Palmer's job to lose. We have all gotten a close look at Stanton, and to my fellow Spartans out there, we have seen a good share of Hoyer as well. I see it being an open competition between all three for the starting QB job in Arizona, and to me it would make little sense now for the Cardinals to take a QB at No. 7.
In this scenario, Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are already gone, so that leaves Lane Johnson as the last of the top three LTs. While Johnson is ranked No. 3 out of them, I don't believe he is far off. Some may argue that this is a reach, but I see it as fulfilling the BPA philosophy while hitting a huge need at the same time. The Cardinals are desperate for any kind of lineman. No matter who they threw out there, there was constant pressure on the QB at all times. At some points, you might as well have just snapped the ball and took a knee if you were an Arizona QB. According to PFF, D'Anthony Batiste had 645 snaps at LT for the Cards last year and gave up 35 QB hurries, 7 QB hits and 12 sacks, resulting in the second-worst overall rating for a tackle (-38.7). I don't know about you guys, but I think Johnson would be an instant upgrade at LT and would most likely start Week 1.
I like Johnson because he is an athletic freak of an LT. He is a QB/TE converted into a LT. So you won't be surprised when you see that he ran a 4.72 40 time with 28 bench reps and a vertical jump of 34 inches at the combine. With this pick, the Cardinals can have Johnson come in and be the starting LT of the future. It makes more sense for them to start building from the trenches instead of recycling through countless QBs while ignoring how awful their O-line is.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.