The Arizona Cardinals lost to the 2020 Detroit Lions, which means they have some work to do this year. The franchise hasn’t had a winning record since 2015, when they made a deep run into the playoffs only to hammered by Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship.
Since then, they’ve felt like a team on the cusp of contending, but have yet to pull themselves over that hump. However, they’ve got an ace in their sleeve this year: Pride of Detroit commenter jdpeterson34.
He will be acting as general manager of the Cardinals in our 2021 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft. If you want to see what the board looked like prior to the Cardinals’ pick, check out our Community Mock Draft tracker.
With the 16th pick in the Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, the Arizona Cardinals have selected South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.
Here’s jdpeterson34 explaining the pick:
The Cardinals have actually done a decent job of filling their glaring holes, especially on defense. However, cornerback would be an exception. Currently, their cornerback room consists of 31-year-old Malcolm Butler (arguably an improvement over Patrick Peterson, who’s declined over the past couple of years) on a one-year rental contract, 32-year-old Robert Alford (hasn’t played a snap since 2018) on a one-year contract, Byron Murphy (their solid starting nickel corner), and two practice squad players (Picasso Nelson and Jace Whittaker). Clearly, they need a long-term solution at cornerback, and Jaycee Horn is exactly that.
Jaycee Horn is the complete package at cornerback. He has elite athleticism, running a 4.39 40-yard dash, jumping 41.5-inch vertical, an 11-foot-1 inch broad, and putting up 19 bench press reps at his pro day. He has the size, measuring 6-foot and 3⁄4 inches and 205 pounds with 33-inch arms at his pro day, and that gives him a perfect 10.0 RAS for you Mathbomb fans.
More importantly, he has the pedigree. He broke up six passes and intercepted two more this past season in only seven games (thanks, COVID). Horn played 239 coverage snaps and only allowed eight receptions in 2020.
It’s no surprise he was a three-year starter in Columbia, even starting as a true freshman. He should be a plug-and-play cornerback as a rookie, but even if he needs a year to acclimate to the NFL (see: Jeff Okudah), the Cardinals have two savvy veterans in Butler and Alford to teach him the ropes before passing on the baton to Horn in 2022. That makes Horn the perfect pick for the Cardinals at #16.
Erik Schlitt’s thoughts:
Horn and fellow CB Caleb Fairley (Virginia Tech) are neck and neck in the ranking for me, but Fairley’s recent back surgery gives Horn the edge to come off the board first. Adding a corner was the right decision for the Cardinals and I believe jdpeterson34 made the prudent choice.
The only other glaring need the Cardinals have is at guard and Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC) holds a similar grade as the corners. He would represent solid value for them if they decided to bolster their offense early. But in this draft, there is value on Day 2 with offensive linemen, so holdfully the Cardinals can land a player who can challenge to start then.
What grade do you give this pick?
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