The Arizona Cardinals are in a rebuilding phase regardless of Kyler Murray’s torn ACL. The team initially had a top-three pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in their possession and several other valuable picks. They maximized their value on paper, but how might the 2023 class contribute?
Arizona Cardinals Draft Picks Tracker by Round in 2023
- Round 1 | Pick 6 (from DET)
Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
- Round 2 | Pick 41 (from TEN)
BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU
- Round 3 | Pick 72 (from TEN)
Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
- Round 3 | Pick 94
Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
- Round 4, Pick 122 (from DET via MIA)
Jon Gaines II, OL, UCLA
- Round 5, Pick 139 (from DET via DEN)
Clayton Tune, QB, Houston
- Round 6, Pick 168 (from ARI via DET)
Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn
- Round 6, Pick 180
Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Louisville
- Round 6, Pick 213*
Dante Stills, DT, West Virginia
How Many Draft Picks Did the Cardinals Have Entering the 2023 NFL Draft?
Arizona had nine selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. They traded down multiple times with their original first two-round selections, adding capital for their future. Most notably, the Cardinals picked up the Texans’ first-round selection in 2024, which as of now, is projected to be a top-five pick.
Additionally, the Cardinals were awarded three compensatory picks after losing Chase Edmonds, Chandler Jones, and Christian Kirk in free agency during the 2022 offseason. As a result, Arizona received one compensatory pick each in Rounds 3, 5, and 6.
Comparing them to other teams, the Cardinals were fairly inactive on the trade market over the past year. It was a bit of a surprise given the team’s 11-6 playoff berth in 2021 and the presence of Murray at quarterback. But the team’s regression in 2022 aligned with their lack of aggressiveness.
That said, the Cardinals did keep an eye on potential buy-low deals across the league and spent their original fifth and seventh-round selections on those kinds of players. Arizona dealt their fifth-rounder to the Buffalo Bills for offensive lineman Cody Ford. It spent a conditional late-rounder in a deal for former Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen.
The Mullen acquisition was intriguing, given that he was a former second-round pick who’d amassed 24 pass deflections in his first two seasons. But injuries prevented Mullen from being fully available over the past two seasons.
Had Mullen been active in at least 10 games in 2022, the Cardinals would have been required to give up their sixth-rounder, but the DB only played in eight games for Arizona before he was ultimately waived and picked up by the Dallas Cowboys. Thus, Arizona’s conditional pick to Las Vegas remained a seventh-rounder.
Who Did the Cardinals Draft in 2023?
The third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft presented an excellent opportunity for the Cardinals to either add game-changing talent or compound the value added with a trade down. Arizona ended up accomplishing both.
Heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, it was known that the Cardinals were interested in trading down from No. 3. They wound up trading back to the 12th pick while the Texans moved up to take Will Anderson Jr. Arizona then moved back up to pick No. 6, using Detroit’s former selection to take Paris Johnson Jr.
Johnson has the physical tools to be a high-level starter at either tackle or guard, but Arizona’s work didn’t end there. On Day 2, the Cardinals brought in EDGE BJ Ojulari, CB Garrett Williams, and WR Michael Wilson. And on Day 3, they added OL Jon Gaines II, QB Clayton Tune, LB Owen Pappoe, CB Kei’Trel Clark, and DL Dante Stills.
All the way through to the final rounds, Arizona was able to add potential contributors on both sides of the ball. In particular, Williams and Clark could both be starters at a CB position that’s very thin in Arizona. Williams is a tenacious competitor in coverage and support, and Clark is an excellent nickel DB.
Ojulari has the burst and bend to be the wide-alignment catalyst on Jonathan Gannon’s edge with Haason Reddick in Philadelphia. Wilson can immediately contribute to WR with his size, separation ability, and workmanlike approach. And with the Cardinals’ last pick, Stills brings a high-motor, alignment-versatile presence.
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