2012 Kiper Mock 3.0: Cardinals thoughts

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
3:32
PM ET
Mel Kiper Jr. is back Insider with his third 2012 NFL mock draft for the first round.

We discussed the previous one before the combine and covered the updated one relating to the San Francisco 49ers earlier Thursday.

The Arizona Cardinals are up next. They hold the 13th overall choice.

13. Arizona Cardinals: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

Kiper's give: Offensive line would be the more obvious pick here, but I want to see what the Cardinals do in free agency first. Floyd would be a great complement to Larry Fitzgerald in that offense, and give the Cardinals an enviable pair of guys who can work underneath, go deep and also post up smaller defensive backs in the red zone. Outside of the offensive line, Floyd is as much as you could do to help a quarterback.

Sando's take: This represents quite a change from Kiper. Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin was his choice for Arizona in the previous mock. Martin fell nowhere in Kiper's first round during this most recent mock. This surprised me and also surprised Kevin Gemmell, writing for our Pac-12 blog. The other top Stanford offensive lineman in this draft, David DeCastro, remained available when Kiper projected Floyd to the Cardinals. He projects more at guard, where the Cardinals invested last offseason, adding Daryn Colledge in free agency. Receiver qualifies as a second-tier need for the Cardinals, in my view. The team needs better quarterback play to maximize its existing wideouts. Fitzgerald was good enough last season to transcend the quarterback issues. Other receivers cannot do that to the same degree. The group behind Fitzgerald would presumably improve quite a bit if the Cardinals signed Peyton Manning.

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