NFL Draft News & Analysis

Arizona Cardinals 7-round mock draft: Marvin Harrison Jr., Jer'Zhan Newton go in Round 1

2TBE52C Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. lines up during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Michigan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan won 30-24. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

• The Cardinals take Marvin Harrison Jr. and Jer'Zhan Newton in Round 1: Harrison is one of the most complete prospects out there, and Newton brings a wide variety of pass-rush moves and counters.

• More interior help with Zach Frazier: The Cardinals' interior offensive line is lacking on paper. Frazier can help with his strong body control and forearm/grip strength.

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As the 2024 NFL Draft nears, our seven-round team mock draft series continues with the Arizona Cardinals.

Round 1, Pick 4: WR Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

Harrison is one of the most complete prospects you will find. He displays an understanding of how to win at the position like few college players do. He is well beyond his years in his releases, his route tree and his IQ to set up and manipulate defenders when creating throwing windows. For a player as tall as he is (6-foot-4), his footwork, change of direction and long speed are excellent. He has very reliable hands and hand-eye coordination to make tough contested catches. One area where he could have stood to improve from 2022 was his after-the-catch ability, and he proved in 2023 that he can deliver in such situations.

Round 1, Pick 27: DI Jer'Zhan Newton, Illinois

Newton, the 2023 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, is listed at only 6-foot-1.5 and 300 pounds, but he often makes up for it in quickness. Few pass rushers get off blocks better than him. He likes to win by getting his hands on a blocker and using a push-pull or arm over. He brings a wide variety of pass-rush moves and counters. In run defense, he shoots his hands up and in and throws linemen aside after getting them off-balance. If he does not immediately win, he can get controlled at his lower weight. His high run-defense grades come more from gap shooting than from holding the line, and he does not hold up consistently against double teams.

Round 2, Pick 35: C Zach Frazier, West Virginia

Frazier has the perfect background for an interior offensive lineman, as he was a four-time state wrestling champion in high school. That built-in core strength is a massive boon to his work on the interior. His body control and forearm/grip strength allow him to latch on to defenders. His flexibility is impressive, and he can get low to consistently win with leverage at the snap, even on quarterback sneaks. His arms are short, which is OK for a center, but he will lose cross-face reps against longer defensive linemen. He won't blow you up with power at contact, but he does have the weight, power and technique to anchor well in pass protection.

Round 3, Pick 66: CB Andru Phillips, Kentucky

Phillips did not gain much starting experience from his four years at Kentucky. He played in every game in 2022 but was a rotational player in the slot and on the outside. In 2023, he was a consistent starter at outside cornerback. He brings a physical brand of play to the position, and that lends itself well to press coverage, where he is most confident. He is a strong run defender from the slot and can set the edge, stop screens and make tackles. Phillips’ deficiencies are on display in off-coverage. His lack of starting experience shows in his spacing and timing for contact. He also must improve the fluidity and precision in his hip turns.

Round 3, Pick 71: EDGE Javon Solomon, Troy

Solomon may not pass the “off the bus” eye test for an NFL edge defender, but he fits the bill as an athlete. He has gained more than 30 pounds since his high school recruiting days and moved from outside linebacker to defensive end throughout his college career. He has a good first step to get off the ball, but his flexibility and change-of-direction ability to give bigger offensive tackles fits are even more impressive. In 2022, he won mostly just on athleticism, but in 2023, his hand usage — speed, violence and precision — improved dramatically, which was a catalyst for his FBS-leading 16 sacks.

Round 3, Pick 90: S Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, Texas Tech

Taylor-Demerson is a high-football-IQ type of free safety who calculates space and timing well on the back end. He can bait quarterbacks into throws and cut off vertical routes with good anticipation. He has adequate speed for pursuit angles, but his good long speed is more build-up speed. There is a lack of suddenness with changing direction, which is a concern. He plays with a lot of control, but that sometimes comes off as playing slower than what will be required in the pros. He can be a reliable tackle but slows down for tackles, opting not to take chances to miss, which sometimes leads to a lack of physicality.

Round 4, Pick 104: WR Ainias Smith, Texas A&M

Across more than 2,100 snaps in his college career, Smith played as a receiver, running back and punt returner for Texas A&M. His short-area explosiveness is better than his long speed, but that long speed should be enough for the NFL. He is always trying to set up defenders with head fakes, shoulder shimmies and hard cuts on his routes. He also brings a variety of releases with a good understanding of why and how they work. He won't be a jump-ball, contested-catch receiver, but his competitiveness can't be questioned. He was asked to block the likes of Chris Braswell and Harold Perkins but didn't back down.

Round 5, Pick 138: S Malik Mustapha, Wake Forest

Mustapha is a throwback tone-setter over the middle of the field. His measurables and mentality are reminiscent of Bob Sanders. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the plus athletic ability — specifically, fluidity and top speed — of Sanders. He does his best work coming from a two-deep safety shell where he can keep the play in front of him and fire downhill when needed. He is an all-out blitzer, even from a deep safety spot. His shorter arms can cause problems when wrapping up tackles, but when he hits players, they feel it.

Round 5, Pick 162: CB Decamerion Richardson, Mississippi State

Richardson possesses ideal size, speed and length combination for the NFL level, especially when he can play closer to the line of scrimmage. Such an alignment also allows one of his biggest strengths to shine: His willingness and reliability in run support. When in coverage, Richardson's biggest weakness is his lack of feel and anticipation. He isn't as comfortable and confident as required when playing certain leverage, and he does not have a good feel for when the ball is arriving, hence the lack of ball production over the years (no interceptions in his career).

Round 6, Pick 186: EDGE Jaylen Harrell, Michigan

Harrell's smaller size and lack of power limit his ceiling as a pass-rusher, but he does have the speed game to be a pass-rushing specialist at outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense. He may enter the NFL as an edge rusher, but he might end up finding a better role as an off-ball linebacker.

Round 7, Pick 226: T Jalen Sundell, North Dakota State

Sundell has experience at both tackle and center. While the competition level at a smaller school will be a knock on him as a player, he did produce in 2023. He gave up just nine total pressures from 406 pass-blocking snaps last season, and he has the skill set to develop at the NFL level with the right coaching.

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