Arizona Cardinals: How will each 2022 draft pick fare this season?

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
Arizona Cardinals
Oct 30, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans running back Keaontay Ingram (28) runs the ball against Arizona Wildcats cornerback Isaiah Rutherford (2) during the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Keaontay Ingram, RB

This is the one late-round pick I am really high on. While Ingram never produced eye-popping numbers in college, he does join a relatively weak running back room and has the size to be featured before.

So what’s the deal with the Arizona Cardinals running back room being weak, considering James Conner is coming off a Pro Bowl season? Listen, Conner was a great comeback story, and he has a niche in the NFL. But he is injury-prone, and he logged a career-worst 3.7 yards per carry.

The Cardinals also have Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward. Out of the two, Benjamin hasn’t shown much in regard to even fitting in as an RB2. Ward is a special teams player who has touched the ball exactly 13 times in his career.

With the injury-prone Conner and fringe outlook for both Ward and Benjamin, Ingram may see some playing time. I am projecting 90 carries for 360 yards and two touchdowns as he settles into an RB2 role later in the season. Perhaps he even plays a game or two as the RB1 if Conner goes down.

Lecitus Smith, OG

The Cardinals have several along the offensive front that will get the nod over Smith in 2022. But to his defense, next to D.J. Humphries, none of the names in front of him will last long in the desert while Rodney Hudson remains a toss-up, but at least he will be here in 2022.

Unlike his fellow Round 6 pick in Ingram, expect Smith to log a redshirt season as a reserve. I don’t think the Arizona Cardinals will cut and sign him to the practice squad. Instead, he will be one rung up: On the team, but an inactive on most weeks.