Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Grades 2023: Cardinals Improve Offensive Line With Paris Johnson Jr.

    What are the Arizona Cardinals' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

    The Arizona Cardinals once looked poised to be a contender in the NFC West, but injuries and a dissolution of their roster has left them needing an overhaul. Does Arizona’s grades from the 2023 NFL Draft suggest they’re moving in the right direction?

    Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Grades

    Round 1, Pick 6: Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State

    Protecting Kyler Murray should be the Cardinals’ top priority, and adding an incredibly athletic left tackle is a good start. While Paris Johnson Jr. is still a bit rough around the edges in some respects, learning as he goes won’t have awful consequences immediately because Murray won’t yet be on the field.

    The Cardinals have many more needs to address, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. But for a team that is rebuilding, taking care of the offense and building continuity should be the top priority. As Howie Roseman proved, a defense can be bought and sold on a yearly basis. Jonathan Gannon and Monti Ossenfort understand that.

    Trading the 12th and 34th picks to move up stings a bit because of how much the Cardinals must do to rebuild the roster, especially in an offensive tackle class that appears decently deep at the top. But they clearly loved Johnson Jr. enough to make the move up to secure him, and going and getting your guy is always the right thing to do.

    Grade: B+

    Round 2, Pick 41: BJ Ojulari, EDGE, LSU

    Gannon got to see his fair share of Azeez Ojulari over the past few seasons playing against the Giants, and he said, “I’ve seen this for others, and I’d like it for myself.” Younger brother, BJ Ojulari, is practically a carbon copy of his older sibling on the field, although he might be an even more advanced pass rusher from the jump.

    Ojulari fits the multiple fronts Gannon likes to employ. He possesses good bend and a fine first step. After selecting Johnson in Round 1, going to the defensive side of the ball makes a ton of sense. And they’ve accomplished this while accumulating some much-needed future draft capital.

    Grade: A

    Round 3, Pick 72: Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse

    It feels like Garrett Williams has been an NFL Draft prospect for three years now. That’s probably because Williams was a freshman All-American on a Syracuse defense that possessed a lot of NFL talent. A torn ACL in 2022 cut his season short and undoubtedly hurt his draft stock, but if he can come back healthy, he will be a starter in the NFL for a long time.

    Grade: A

    Round 3, Pick 94: Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford

    Michael Wilson is a well-built prospect who already looks like an NFL receiver. However, Wilson has only played in 14 games over the past three seasons because of a myriad of injuries. The Stanford receiver is an outstanding route runner, and he’s been productive when he’s been able to remain healthy and on the field.

    Grade: C

    Round 4, Pick 122: Jon Gaines II, OL, UCLA

    Jon Gaines II has positional versatility, playing both center and guard during his time at UCLA. However, he was limited athletically and struggled with balance issues at times. He presents a player that will have to fight for his spot on the roster.

    Grade: C

    Round 5, Pick 139: Clayton Tune, QB, Houston

    One of the more dynamic passers in this class, Clayton Tune’s arm talent has never been in question. Though Tune may be a project the Cardinals hope to develop, the traits he possesses indicate a quarterback who can give them a serviceable option in the absence of Kyler Murray.

    Grade: B-

    Round 5, Pick 168: Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn

    Grade: A-

    A great fit for the Cardinals defense, Owen Pappoe has three-down ability at the NFL level. Somehow, he fell midway through Day 3, likely because of size concerns, but the fact of the matter remains: Pappoe can fly, and coverage is his strongest attribute. He has the chance to start for this Cardinals’ defense as early as Week 1.

    Round 6, Pick 180: Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Louisville

    Yet another hit for the Cardinals, as Kei’Trel Clark’s slide stops here. A top-100 player on the PFN Big Board, Clark bounced back after an injury early on in his career at Louisville to produce multiple highly productive seasons. What he may lack in size and length, he more than makes up for with his athleticism, speed, and burst.

    Grade: A

    Round 6, Pick 213: Dante Stills, DT, West Virginia

    Continuing their hot streak on the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals grab yet another piece to round out their defensive overhaul. Dante Stills is an underrated player coming with a full three-down skill set on the inside.

    Stills can rush the passer, fill rush lanes, and downright dominate smaller offensive linemen with strength or bigger offensive linemen with speed.

    Grade: A-

    What Were the Cardinals’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

    • CB, G, EDGE, DT, OT, WR, RB

    Asking what the Cardinals don’t need might provide a quicker answer. Arizona’s CB room may as well not exist. They could improve at both guard spots, and each of their tackles are over 30. A backfield of James Conner and Corey Clement is less than exciting, and with DeAndre Hopkins likely on the move via trade, Arizona could use receiver help.

    Safety and linebacker are the only two position groups on defense that aren’t absolute necessities to address. Arizona needs EDGE and DT help on top of their desperate need at CB.

    Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

    Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

    Related Stories

    Related Articles