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Drafting top-tier CB is next-best option for Cardinals after QB

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Kiper expects Browns to draft Allen (1:52)

Mel Kiper breaks down the top five picks of his mock draft, and predicts QB Josh Allen will go No. 1 overall to the Browns. (1:52)

TEMPE, Ariz. – If the Arizona Cardinals don’t trade their way up in the first round of this year’s draft to put themselves in position to pick one of the top-ranked quarterbacks, there’s always Plan B.

And former Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson would be a suitable choice if Arizona stands pat at No. 15.

That’s who ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper Jr. has going to the Cardinals in the first round, should Arizona remain where they’re slotted to pick. And with cornerback perhaps the most pressing need for Arizona’s defense, Jackson could be the best choice.

He’s 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, and led the Football Bowl Subdivision with eight interceptions as a junior. He came out early, so, like Patrick Peterson back in 2011, the Cardinals would be getting a young, big, talented corner who could grow into his own before he hits 23.

Drafting Jackson could also alleviate future issues for Arizona at a position that’s plagued them since letting Jerraud Powers walk in free agency in 2015. Peterson has emerged as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL and quarterbacks have noticed. They rarely throw his way, making a talented second cornerback all the more necessary for a defense that relies on a pass rush-heavy front seven.