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Tom Fornelli predicts Cardinals’ first round-picks in latest mock draft

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Super Bowl LVIII is tomorrow between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, but teams like the Arizona Cardinals will watch from afar as they continue to construct a game plan for the 2024 NFL Draft.

Even with the biggest game of the season about 24 hours away (from the time of publishing this), it is not stopping NFL, college and other football analysts from examining and formulating mock drafts.

Today, reputable CBS Sports writer Tom Fornelli came out with a list of which prospects he believes could land where.

The Cardinals currently own the fourth and 27th overall picks in the first-round this year, but who does Fornelli think is heading to The Valley of the Sun?

#4: OT Olumuyiwa “Olu” Fashanu | Penn State

Nov 4, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions offensive lineman Olumuyiwa Fashanu (74) during the game against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Back in December when Arizona were in position for the third selection in the draft, my verdict was that “the Cardinals should consider selecting Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu.”

Well, Fornelli seems to agree, just a pick later.

“As a pass-protector, Fashanu is a dream prospect for the position,” Fornelli said. “He has some learning left to do, but Fashanu could be one of the best left tackles in the league for a decade.”

Fashanu was a first team All-American and the Big 10 Conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year after protecting his quarterbacks in 382 pass-blocking snaps in 2023.

By combining him with 2023 first-round (sixth overall) pick Paris Johnson Jr., Arizona could add even more offensive line depth in front of quarterback Kyler Murray.

However, Fornelli did point out a couple of flaws he’s noticed when watching the 6-foot-6, 317-pounder.

“Fashanu is not a perfect prospect,” Fornelli said. “He can lose his balance and be overpowered when run-blocking.”

Things can all change if one of UNC quarterback Drake Maye, USC QB Caleb Williams or Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. fall into Arizona’s hands.

But if those three are off the board, Fashanu could very well be a Cardinal in April.

#27: DE/LB Chris Braswell | Alabama

Feb 1, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; American edge Chris Braswell of Alabama (41) attacks during practice for the American team at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

As for Arizona’s second earliest draft choice according to Fornelli, he ended up naming Alabama edge Chris Braswell after Fashanu.

“His lack of length will turn teams off, but he is strong as an ox,” Fornelli said. “Braswell plays with a high motor, and while he’s not going to win any 40-yard dashes, he’s quick enough to beat a tackle off the snap. He’s also a strong player at the point of attack and can set an edge in the run game.”

Not playing much in his freshman and sophomore years, the 2023 season was when he shined in the spotlight for the Crimson Tide.

As a junior, Braswell played 14 games, grabbed 42 tackles, eight sacks, an interception and one touchdown.

After a strong year, the Baltimore, Maryland native was on the All-SEC second team and invited to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

With Cardinals linebackers Zaven Collins and B.J. Ojulari starting last year and returning next season, it would be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Nick Rallis would implement Braswell if drafted.

 

If interested in reading Fornelli’s full 2024 NFL Mock Draft, click HERE.

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Reporter Alec Cipollini covers the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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