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Arizona Cardinals NFL draft picks 2021: Analysis for every selection

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Zaven Collins' NFL draft profile (1:08)

Check out the best highlights from Tulsa OLB Zaven Collins' college career. (1:08)

The 2021 NFL draft was held April 29 through May 1 and every Arizona Cardinals' draft pick has been analyzed here.

After last season's virtual draft, Cleveland is playing host to festivities this year with a handful of potential draft picks present and socially distanced because of COVID-19.

Here's a pick-by-pick look at how each player Arizona has selected will fit.

Analysis of every NFL pick | Updated NFL depth charts


Round 1, No. 16 overall: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

My take: This was a safe pick for the Cardinals, that's pretty clear. Collins is a talent and he's versatile, which will leave defensive coordinator Vance Joseph dreaming about where to line him up -- much like he did with Isaiah Simmons last season. But the Cardinals are facing a make-or-break season, and it seems like it would've made more sense for them to either trade back to gather more picks -- even some for next year's deep draft -- or to take a chance on a wide receiver or cornerback, both of which are positions that could help them win this season. Collins isn't the issue here. It's the decision to take him. Collins will be someone Arizona can groom at inside linebacker and play outside in a pinch. But with those positions already established, the need to win seemed like it was put on the back burner.

Fitting him in: Cardinals general manager Steve Keim made it clear during his post-draft news conference Collins will play inside linebacker, even going as far as saying he'll lineup next to Simmons. But that leaves out Jordan Hicks, the Cardinals' reliable and durable veteran inside linebacker who was the quarterback of the defense. Coach Kliff Kingsbury sounded adamant that Collins will play, saying that a team doesn't pick a player 16th if they're not going to play him. The Cardinals have quite a bit of depth at inside linebacker, so if Collins struggles as a rookie, like Simmons did last season, there'll be a number of players waiting to compete for his spot.

He's a talent: There's no doubting Collins' credentials. He won both the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player and the Bednarik Award as the defensive player of year. He was the only FBS players last season to have at least four sacks and four interceptions. At 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, he has the size to rush the passer and the athleticism to drop into coverage. He returned two of his four interceptions last season for touchdowns.


Round 2, No. 49 overall: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

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Rondale Moore's NFL draft profile

Check out the best highlights from Purdue WR Rondale Moore's college career.

My take: Arizona already has receivers who look like Moore, who's 5-foot-7 and 181 pounds, in Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella, both of whom were also taken in the second round. But Moore can separate himself if he can make big plays and be consistently productive. With his speed and quickness, Moore has the potential to be a major cog in the Cardinals' offense but he needs to stay healthy. He played in just eight games during his final two seasons at Purdue because of injuries.


Round 4, No. 136 overall: Marco Wilson, CB, Florida

My take: The Cardinals add depth to their cornerback room, a position which was a priority heading into the draft. Wilson is known for his speed and played at a high level at Florida against top competition in the SEC, so he comes to Arizona with a pedigree. As he showed against LSU when he threw a shoe that resulted in a penalty that cost the Gators the game, he can be emotional, which is good and bad for a team that led the NFL in penalties. Wilson also has a significant injury history with torn ACLs in high school and college. If he can stay healthy, he's the type of the player who can contribute if called upon immediately.


Round 6, No. 136 overall: Victor Dimukeje, DE, Duke

My take: Dimukeje was productive at Duke with 21.5 career sacks, the second most in school history, but his size -- 6-foot-1.5 and 262 pounds - might be an issue in the NFL. He'll transition from DE, his college position, to OLB for the Cardinals. He'll follow another former Cardinal in the line of shorter pass rushers -- Haason Reddick, who's also 6-1. If Dimukeje can rush the passer like Reddick, he'll be able to get on the field as part of Arizona's rotation at OLB, but the depth there -- Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt, Devon Kennard, Zach Allen and Markus Golden -- might make it tough for him to get many snaps.


Round 6, No. 223 overall: Tay Gowan, CB, UCF

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Tay Gowan's NFL draft profile

Check out the highlights from UCF S Tay Gowan's college career.

My take: Gowan may have found the perfect situation, even if he thinks he went lower than he should have. He's 6-1, 186 pounds and played almost exclusively outside in college in a press-man scheme. He still has to work to do on his game but learning from veterans such as Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford, and not having to play immediately, at least for the time being, can help him develop into a potential starter in Year 2 or beyond.


Round 7, No. 243 overall: James Wiggins, S, Cincinnati

My take: It'll take a lot for Wiggins to see the field with as much depth as the Cardinals have at safety. Waiting and practicing behind the likes of Budda Baker, Chris Banjo, Deionte Thompson, Charles Washington and Jalen Thompson could do Wiggins some good in terms of learning from veterans, and improving and fine-tuning his game.


Round 7, No. 247 overall: Michal Menet, C, Penn State

My take: Menet fell into as good of a situation as he could find in the NFL. He'll sit and learn from the Cardinals' starting center, Rodney Hudson. With Menet's size (6-foot-4 and 301 pounds), he could find a place in a starting lineup in a few years, but he has a good number of things to polish before that happens.