3 NFL Draft first-round mistakes that continue to haunt the Arizona Cardinals

Looking back at recent memory, the Arizona Cardinals had the chance to draft some current stars in the NFL.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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2.) Selecting Isaiah Simmons over CeeDee Lamb, Tristan Wirfs and Justin Jefferson

When the Cardinals drafted Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons in 2020, they were getting themselves a versatile player who could play all over the field on the defense. Simmons was drafted 8th overall and established himself as a tackling machine. In three seasons with the Cardinals racked up 258 total tackles and 7.5 sacks. He was also able to add on 4 interceptions (one of them being a pick-six in 2022). Simmons was not a bad player for the Cardinals and provided value on the defense, but looking back at this draft class, the Cardinals could have added so much value on their offense. Not to mention, Simmons was basically given away to the New York Giants last year for almost nothing before the start of the 2023 season. 

The first obvious choice is wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who fell to the 22nd pick to the Minnesota Vikings. Jefferson has established himself as a top three receiver, arguably as the best receiver in the league. Even playing in just 10 games this season, Jefferson went north of 1,000 receiving yards and had 5 receiving touchdowns. He has reached over 1,000 yards in every season of his career. Then there is wideout CeeDee Lamb, who was a top three receiver last year with the Dallas Cowboys. Lamb took a major jump in production this past season and has consistently improved each year since he was drafted. Lamb fell to the Cowboys at the 17th pick in 2020. 

Finally, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has become a key factor in the Buccaneers’ success the last couple of seasons. In his second year, he not only earned Pro Bowler status, but earned First Team All-Pro status, making him one of if not the best offensive tackle in the league.

The Cardinals did not necessarily miss on Simmons, but he was eventually traded after his third year with the team while these three other players have become key components on their teams.