Arizona Cardinals: Fans should expect a different kind of draft in 2023
While the Arizona Cardinals continually look for their next head coach, the search has overshadowed hordes of potential draft talk.
During the before times when Steve Keim headed up the Arizona Cardinals war room, you could sum up his style in one adjective: Glamor. Keim had a love for drafting prospects with game-changing potential, but also massive bust potential. Unfortunately, it rarely worked out well for him.
While he hit with the likes of D.J. Humphries and to an extent, Kyler Murray, Keim had many more misses than hits. In his first NFL Draft in 2013, Keim swung and missed with Jonathan Cooper.
His next pick, Deone Bucannon, lasted just five seasons with the team before he played in an additional 14 regular season games in 2019, and another four games in the 2020 playoffs. Overall, Bucannon’s career was short and for the most part, was unspectacular.
We already touched on his success with Humphries, but the next season, Robert Nkemdiche was a massive disappointment. The former 29th overall pick was gone in three seasons and is now playing on the USFL’s Michigan Panthers roster.
In 2017, Keim drafted Haason Reddick, who developed into a star in 2020. But then he let Reddick walk away for nothing. The former 13th overall pick will be playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy next Sunday.
In 2018, Keim whiffed big time with Josh Rosen, before trying to make up for it with Kyler Murray in 2019. When 2020 came around, Keim rolled with Isaiah Simmons, who finally seems to be developing into the player the former general manager hoped he’d be. Ditto for 2021 first round pick, Zaven Collins.
Expect something different from the new Arizona Cardinals regime
When the Arizona Cardinals hired Monti Ossenfort, I breathed a sigh of relief. No one from the Keim era got the job. Good. If owner Michael Bidwill didn’t want to distance himself from the Keim regime’s ways, he would have went with someone who worked under the former general manager. Therefore, Ossenfort is more likely to go for need as opposed to the glamor route that Keim was famous for.
Keim loved the boom or bust pick early, but look for Ossenfort to target the Cardinals weakest position groups: Edge, defensive line, corner, offensive line, and running back.
Obviously, drafting for need doesn’t guarantee Ossenfort will do a better job than his predecessor. But by going for need, you’ll at least be rest assured that the Cardinals will have fewer holes to deal with when the season begins in September.
There’s still the possibility Ossenfort could turn around and do exactly what Keim did. But why would he? And if Ossenfort wants to invoke a culture change, his strategy would be dramatically different from Keim’s.
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