Arizona Cardinals must consider improving the trenches if Marvin Harrison Jr. forgoes 2024 draft

The Arizona Cardinals could transform the passing game with Marvin Harrison Jr., but they can focus on other areas if the high-profile receiver stays in school.
Rutgers v Penn State
Rutgers v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals found perhaps the next big-play tight end in football with Trey McBride, and his presence alone helps the team’s passing game. And a prospect like Marvin Harrison Jr. would transform it into a potentially elite unit regardless of who is playing quarterback next season. 

But since there are no guarantees Harrison will enter the draft, it could be a blessing in disguise for the Cardinals. If this season has shown us anything, it’s that the Redbirds need a lot of help along the offensive line, as Paris Johnson, Will Hernandez, and Hjalte Froholdt will not withstand an opposing front seven alone. 

While it’s true the Cards drafted Jon Gaines II this past April, an injury in camp means he’s also an unknown commodity, and he will essentially be a rookie in 2024. So if the plan next season is to better protect Kyler Murray, and to make the running game even more effective, the Cardinals should consider improving the offensive line early. 

They also need help on the defensive line, despite solid performances from Dante Stills, Roy Lopez, Kevin Strong, and Jonathan Ledbetter. One more player, perhaps a potential game-changer, would do the Redbirds well. 

Arizona Cardinals would be smart to improve the offensive and defensive lines

If the Cardinals keep the third pick in April, Olu Fashanu or Joe Alt, depending on who they think more highly of following the pre-draft process, would be a choice the Red Sea would approve of. One of the two would add a fourth puzzle piece to the offensive line while they can also swing back around and snag a highly-touted guard like the University of Georgia’s Sedrick Van Pran in the second round. 

Tankathon’s 2024 mock draft currently has Van Pran slated to go with the 64th overall pick, so if that holds even, the Cards should easily find themselves in position to select him. Cooper Beebe is another high-end prospect along the interior offensive line, and he too should be there when the Cards pick in the second round. 

While the 2024 draft class is deep, it is lacking several high-end defensive line prospects outside of Jer’Zhan Newton. Newton, who has 7.5 sacks and 52 tackles, may be a top-20 pick, so if the Arizona Cardinals were to build from the inside and out in 2024, they must take him with their pick acquired from Houston should the Texans miss the playoffs. 

Overall, there are a few good routes the Cardinals can take come draft day should Marvin Harrison Jr. return to Ohio State. And improving the line before anything else during that last weekend in April is incredibly enticing. It’s not the only good route, but it’s a safe one that will immediately bolster passing protection on offense, and aid in stopping the run on defense. 


(Statistics provided by Tankathon)