ESPN NFL draft Insiders Mel Kiper and Todd McShay were on the same wavelength when they picked the second version of their mock drafts. Both analysts believe the Arizona Cardinals will take Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio at No. 20 in May’s draft. But there’s enough in both of their analyses of the 6-foot-6, 315-pound 20-year-old to make me believe he’s not the best fit for the Cardinals.
It’s no secret Arizona needs a left tackle, but what they don’t need is a project. And from how Kiper described Kouandjio, it sounds like he is one: “... Kouandjio battled inconsistency last season, and was particularly susceptible to extremely quick pass-rushers who could drive upfield and turn the corner on him, getting under his reach.” That’s what Arizona had in Levi Brown, and we all saw how that turned out. With defensive ends -- such as St. Louis’ Robert Quinn -- getting faster by the year, Arizona needs athleticism more than size. And according to McShay, Kouandjio struggled at the start and end of Alabama’s season. The NFL season is much longer, and the Cards can’t afford to have a young guy hit a wall and let quarterback Carson Palmer end up on his back more often than not.