Cardinals would’ve had several intriguing options with a first-round pick
By Jim Koch
Several intriguing prospects were still there for the taking when the Arizona Cardinals traded their first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Arizona Cardinals caused a stir last Thursday night when they elected to trade away their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Many observers were thrilled with the Marquise “Hollywood” Brown acquisition, but there was also a contingent of Cards fans who vehemently disagreed with the decision.
A good number of Cardinals followers felt that the club had more pressing needs to address with the 23rd overall choice of the draft. The defensive side of the ball, in particular, could use some reinforcements. There are those who believe that an edge-rusher, cornerback, or even a nose tackle would’ve been more of a help.
In fairness to general manager Steve Keim, quite a few of the top prospects who play those positions were off of the board before it was Arizona’s turn to select in round one. On the other hand, not every attractive option had found a new home by pick No. 23.
Arizona Cardinals missed out on several blue-chip prospects in first round of 2022 NFL Draft
At the exact spot that the Cardinals would’ve been selecting, the Buffalo Bills grabbed Kaiir Elam, a highly-touted cornerback out of the University of Florida. At the moment, Byron Murphy, Jeff Gladney, and Marco Wilson are the team’s top three cover guys. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound Elam would’ve been a solid insurance policy for a position that has question marks written all over it.
The Redbirds lost the great Chandler Jones during free agency, but Keim waited until the third round to add a replacement. Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders may be loaded with potential, but former Florida State University edge-rusher Jermaine Johnson II looks like more of a sure thing. The 26th overall selection (New York Jets) registered 70 tackles and 11.5 sacks for the Seminoles last fall.
Another draftee who would’ve looked good in a Cards uniform is Devonte Wyatt, an outstanding defensive tackle out of the University of Georgia. The Green Bay Packers ended up drafting the 6-foot-3, 315-pounder at No. 26 overall. Wyatt appears to be a significant upgrade over both Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence, Arizona’s current contributors at the nose tackle spot.
When all is said and done, the Cardinals could look back on the trade for Brown and have no regrets. Only time will tell if Keim and his cohorts did the right thing.