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SBN Mock Draft: Pick No. 5

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No. 5

Pick by The Big Red Sheet

Levi Brown
Offensive Tackle
Penn State

Selecting for Arizona is special guest Jeff Gollin from the Cardinals blog, The Big Red Sheet, who says:

The Cards say they believe in a Best Available Athlete drafting policy but will build "need" and "organizational fit into their rating of each player before they establish their rankings. I'd define this approach as ranking players - regardless of position - on our board in terms of "Who Can Best Help Our Football Team."And if a cluster of players are all rated within on or two total points of one another, we'll consider them all as "tied."

I felt that, among the half dozen or so players at the top of our Board, Levi Brown could help our football team the most.

In terms of pure athletic ability, Peterson would have been a tempting choice (Edge James isn't getting any younger) but we're concerned about his durability and upright running style. We could put a blazer like Ginn at WR to take the heat off Boldin and Fitzgerald and also provide a home run KR capability, but when we asked ourselves: "If we didn't draft him, could we still survive?" The answer was yes, so we passed on Ginn. We also need serious help at OLB and considered Patrick Willis but felt that, despite his amazing Pro Day forty, he'd be a bit of a reach at #5. We're also a bit shaky at CB (where Rolle and Eric Green have to prove the reason they've underachieved was because they were coached badly). Darrelle Revis fit the profile of an aggressive, man cover guy, but also seemed to be a bit of a reach at #5.

Levi Brown was right in the mix with these other guys. Plus he'll fill a gaping hole on our offensive line. Plus we don't consider him much of a dropoff from Joe Thomas. (In fact, while we view Thomas as being a more "ready" and less risky pick, we feel Brown - with his longer arms and drive blocking skills - may represent a better fit on Matt Leinart's non blind-side at LT and have a greater upside than Thomas).

We did feel Brown at #5 represented a slight overdraft and tried to trade down a few rungs to where he'd be a better value, but there was absolutely no trade action, and, in any case, we were leery of losing him if we dropped down too far. So, in the end, we stood pat and played it safe.

In our judgment, the Cardinals will be in trouble next season unless their offensive line plays better. Either this has to happen via improved play by existing personnel or the addition of better personnel. If the Cardinals were to fail to draft a potential O-line starter in the first 2 rounds, they would have to rely on Oliver Ross improving 100% over the last 2 years (a possibility now that he's been reunited with former position coach Russ Grimm - but still a major issue the Cardinals can't afford to remain a question). Accordingly, we think the Cardinals have backed themselves into a corner where they will have to trade for an OT - possibly Max Starks - or draft an OT with one of their first 2 picks.

If we were to trade down and not wind up with Brown, we'd then have to hope that Joe Staley would drop to us at #38 or that Blalock would still be there for us to draft in the second round. Both of these possibilities are quite iffy and represent too much of a risk for us to take.

Brown will initially be slotted at starting LT (which, in the Cardinal offense is more like a traditional RT since Matt Leinart is a lefty). His blind side will initially be protected by RT Reggie Wells, but that could all change during TOW's and training camp.

And that's the way it is.

Indeed. Thanks, Jeff. Moving on: Washington, you're on the clock. Selection coming soon from Hogs Haven.