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NFC West Review: Evaluating the Cardinals’ 2020 Draft class

The Cardinals had one of the best drafts in the NFL if you include their second-round pick.

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl - Fresno State v Arizona State Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

On Wednesday, we went over the Seattle Seahawks draft class. They’re still the biggest challenger to the San Francisco 49ers, but the Arizona Cardinals will be a trendy pick this offseason. Let’s look at the Cardinals draft class.

First round: Isaiah Simmons, LB

Simmons is a stud in coverage. I’m curious to see how Arizona uses him. George Kittle vs. Simmons will bee must-see TV. Simmons is a great player; there is no denying that. What isn’t talked about is Simmons is more of a linear athlete than mentioned. Angles and tackling in space was an issue last year. If the Cardinals use Simmons as a deep safety, Kyle Shanahan will have a field day. Simmons’ instincts are questionable; the further you get away from the line of scrimmage.

Earlier this week, the Cardinals said they’re going to play Simmons at linebacker. They are going to limit his value by doing so. While Simmons is an uber-athlete, changing directions and over-pursuing is a big issue:

Third round: Josh Jones, LT

The Cardinals didn’t have a second-round selection thanks to the Houston Texans “general manager.” Jones was going in the first round of mock drafts during April. He’s way too talented to fall here, and Arizona was smart to pounce on Jones. My takeaway from Jones falling is the NFL has something on him that the general public doesn’t, whether that’s background, character concerns, or something along those lines.

On the field, Jones is a great fit for Arizona. I would’ve loved him in San Francisco before the Trent Williams deal happened. Jones did not have a blown block in pass protection all season, per Sports Info Solutions. That’s unheard of. Jones may not have a high ceiling like the first-round tackles, but he’s going to start and play for a long time.

Round 4: DT Leki Fotu, DT Rashard Lawrence

The Cardinals wanted to add some beef inside, and they did so with Fotu and Lawrence. Fotu is the definition of a space-eating nose tackle. He does a nice job against double teams, but, as you’d imagine, doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher.

Lawrence gets the LSU bump. He’ll likely be a rotational player, similar to what Sheldon Day gave the 49ers. Solid run defense, a few plays here and there, but you can move him at the point of attack, and the arsenal isn’t there as a pass rusher.

Round 7: RB Eno Benjamin

The Cardinals took LB Evan Weaver in the sixth-round, and I can say with confidence that I have no clue who that is. Benjamin, however, is in my backyard, so I’ve watched him for a while. He’s going to be great for Arizona out of the backfield. While watching Brandon Aiyuk with his position coach, Eno made play after play. Benjamin didn’t wow as an athlete, but he did on the field. As a seventh-rounder, Benjamin is an absolute steal.