The 2020 NFL draft was one of the most talent laden in league history. A lot of teams took chances and risks while others played it smart and took ADV of who was left on the board. Among the winners the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders stood out.
First round (8): ISAIAH SIMMONS, OLB, Clemson
The Cardinals truly needed a tackle at that spot but a generational talent like Simmons couldn’t be passed on to pair with linebacker Jordan Hicks and All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones. His versatility and speed will help eliminate the teams inability to cover tight ends. Putting him on a defense with Patrick Peterson will enhance Simmons’ coverage ability. He’s also the ultimate spy against the scrambling ability of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Third round (72): JOSH JONES, OT, HOUSTON
Many scouts had a first round grade on Jones and him falling to the third round justified the Simmons pick even more. He can come right in and compete for a right tackle starting spot. He needs refinement but he has great hands and feet so he can be coached up against elite competitors. He only gave up four pressures his senior year and had a good Senior Bowl. Adding him to an offensive line that performed quite well will only flatten his learning curve.
Fourth round (114): LEKI FOTU, DT, UTAH
Once considered to be a first round pick, Fotu produced like a first rounder in his final season as a member of one of the best defenses in the country. He’s strong at the point of attack and can handle double teams with the best of defensive tackles. At 6’5 330lbs Fotu ran a 5.15 40 and can be the athletic nose tackle former first round pick Dan Williams used to be for the Cardinals. He’ll push veterans Jordan Phillips and Corey Peters for playing time.
Fourth round (131): RASHAD LAWRENCE, DT, LSU
In just two rounds the Cardinals fortified their interior defensive line. The National champion from LSU proved his senior year to be a consistent pocket penetrator and is the perfect matchup with Fotu. His pass rush ability and pedigree make him a great long term investment as he’ll need to get stronger but Lawrence was a great selection to add depth to an enhanced defense.
Sixth round (202): EVAN WEAVER, ILB, Cal
Weaver isn’t the greatest athlete at middle linebacker but he’s no slug. His greatest trait are his instincts and diagnosis of plays pre-snap. He had almost 200 tackles his senior year for a reason. He’s always around the ball and not just making tackles 10-15 yards downfield. Weaver can handle all the run and intermediate coverage responsibilities in the middle while Chandler Jones runs wild on the edge and Isaiah Simmons is used like an Avengers Swiss Army knife-type character right before they collectively snuff Thanos. He’ll be a special teams assassin at worst and make whoever is picking up blitzes buckle both chin straps.
Seventh round (222): ENO BENJAMIN, RB, Arizona State
Based on his skill set, being recruited by Kliff Kingsbury in high school and depth at running back, Benjamin can make his name on special teams or beat out Chase Edmonds. He was Mr. Durable his entire Arizona State career so goal line or third down roles could be where he thrives if he continues to be consistent with catching the ball.
Overall Grade: A+
The Cardinals got impact players at all the positions of need on defense and at offensive tackle. Giving up David Johnson and a second round pick to acquire DeAndre Hopkins is better than any player they elf ever gotten as a second-rounder. The. Cardinals could take the NFC West by storm with the amount talent this draft class possesses and potential the team has in front of them.