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Arizona Ushers In A New Era In 2024 Three-Round Mock Draft

Arizona has been scrappy all year but hasn't truly had the talent to compete in 2023. With a new head coach and a max-salary quarterback out for the first half of the season, many pundits expected that they were headed to the number one overall pick.

Jonathon Gannon got to Arizona and, from week one, had his guys prepared to compete; it honestly reminds me of Dan Campbell when he first got to Detroit. Neither team has enough talent to give them a season. So lets change that!

Round 1 Pick 3: Olumuyiwa Fashanu OT Penn State

Arizona started to build in the trenches to protect Kyler Murray last season with Paris Johnson Jr, who has begun playing great ball since Murray has returned, but they still have an issue with the other side of the line. DJ Humphries is a pro but doesn't have a high ceiling in his career. Some may think that Marvin Harrison should be the selection here, but with how deep this Receiver class is, Fashanu is the right choice.

"In his freshman campaign, Fashanu recorded action in 4 games with 85 snaps, giving up no QB pressures, hits, or sacks. In his sophomore season in 2022, Fashanu logged 8 games with 542 snaps, yielding 6 QB hurries, one QB hit, yet again allowing zero sacks."

Fashanu is an elite blue-chip prospect with the right size, athleticism, and temperament to anchor either side of the line. With him and Jonhson Jr, Kyler Murray shouldn't have to deal with constant edge pressure.

Round 1 Pick 18: Jared Verse EDGE Florida State

Every great team is built in the trenches, and that's exactly what Arizona should do. Verse immediately brings explosiveness and leadership to the team. He was arguably the best player on one of the best defenses in the country (FSU) after Jordan Travis got hurt, and that defense was needed to carry the team.

Elite athletic skills -- Made Bruce Feldman's 2023 'Freaks List' at number 26. He wrote: "another year at FSU has enabled him to continue to develop, both physically and in his on-field skill set. At 6-3 1/2, 260 pounds, Verse power-cleans 360 pounds, squats 555 and benches 455, but he also has excellent burst, running 21.14 MPH in a game with a max acceleration of 5.85m/s with a max deceleration of -6.98m/s."

Verse is a winner and one of those players who shows up when the lights are the brightest. With nine sacks and over 40 tackles in back-to-back seasons, he has the numbers and the metrics to be a valuable asset in the NFL. In Gannon's defense, Verse could be more than an asset, maybe even a force of nature.

Round 2 Pick 35: Leonard Taylor DT Miami (FL)

Continuing to build in the trenches here, Taylor is a space-eater at 6'4 and 305 pounds, but he isn't just a big body; he has excellent instincts and technique at the line of scrimmage. Taylor still has some areas to improve, but at his current level, he is a starting NFL lineman with the ability to line up all over the formation.

"Many of Taylor’s pressures come from angle confusion, athleticism, and pure effort — he’s still trending up with his operational consistency — but he’s a rapid processor off the snap who can channel power with his hands and violently exploit leverage." Ian Cummings PFN

Kevin Strong and Roy Lopez are solid depth pieces, but a player like Taylor can be a centerpiece of that defense. Taylor and Verse immediately take a weakness and turn it into a strength for Arizona.

Round 3 Pick 67: Roman Wilson WR Michigan

Kyler needs more weapons that he can grow with; Hollywood Brown is a good player but can't be reliable every week. Wilson is an insurance policy cause he is a similar style player, except he has vice grips for hands-on deep balls. He is not without his issues with press coverage and coming back to the ball.

Keeps his feet active and eyes up to dodge traffic quickly and easily. Has excellent straight-line speed to be a breakaway threat at any level. Will initiate contact and runs through high tackle attempts but isn't overall a powerful player.

Roman's skills will manifest in big plays in this offense when a play breaks down. Wilson is the consistently successful Rondale Moore and could replace Hollywood if they choose not to resign him.

Round 3 Pick Ja'Lynn Polk WR Washington

Polk reminds me of a young player who came out of University of South Carolina, some of you may know him. His name is Deebo Samuel. Polk, who stands at 6'2 and 206 pounds, is an excellent run-after-the-catch threat and can be moved around the formation to create mismatches.

Ja'Lynn combines good speed with his size, and he accelerates off the line better than most big receivers. Polk transitions quickly from receiver to runner, and he has enough speed to threaten the seam. He’s a precise route runner, creating separation when used on quick outs and stop patterns in college. Polk has good stop-start ability and lateral agility.

Adding Roman Wilson and Ja'Lynn Polk to Brown, Moore, Michael Wilson, and Trey McBride gives this offense much more to work with.

Round 3 Pick 82 Zach Frasier OC West Virginia

Continue to build out this offensive line of the future. Again, Hjalte Froholdt and Keith Ismael are depth pieces; Froholdt is supposed to be a swing tackle, not a starting center. Frasier would immediately be one of the best interior players on this roster.

He’s a coordinated athlete who can win at the point of attack in the run game, and Frazier can also move to consistently land blocks at the second level. Awareness is above-average for his limited experience. Sells trap block and can turn to seal. Fluid getting to and adjust at the second level.

With the additions of Fashanu and Frasier to the line with Paris Johnson JR, both sides and the middle of the line should be in much better shape. This offense could quickly leap forward next year with this type of protection.

End Of Rant

The Arizona Cardinals should be looking at a great draft class in 2024 if they want to build this item correctly. I believe in what Jonathan Gannon has done in his first year here, and I'm excited to see what it can turn into with a better roster.

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