Arizona Cardinals: One draft prospect to replace Watt, Golden, and others
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals have seen a plethora of players depart following the 2022 season. Luckily, they have eight picks in the 2023 NFL Draft to replace them.
You can think of this exercise as a mini Arizona Cardinals mock draft. Below, you will meet five draft prospects who could wind up as excellent replacements for five recently departed players who contributed to the Redbirds over the past two to four seasons.
And given the capital general manager Monti Ossenfort has, Arizona could easily replace the likes of J.J. Watt, Markus Golden, and others over the first five rounds of next week’s draft. Which players would make great fits? Keep reading for more.
Draft prospects who can replace recently departed Arizona Cardinals
Replacing Zach Allen
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE/Kansas State - Round 1/Pick 11 (fr. Ten)
Felix Anudike-Uzomah is one prospect I haven’t heard much about, but the Arizona Cardinals would do well to give him an extended look. The 6’3, 255 pounder made a living torching backfields over the past two seasons, logging 25.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks. Anudike-Uzomah would likely start from Day One if drafted.
Replacing J.J. Watt
Adetomiwa Adebawore, DE/Northwestern - Round 5/Pick 168
Adetomiwa Adebawore is a prospect the Cards can snag on Day 3, assuming no one reaches for him beforehand. While Adebawore didn’t light the stat sheet during his time at Northwestern, he could be a sound rotational piece should the Cardinals elect to draft him. .
Replacing Markus Golden
Byron Young, OLB/Tennessee - Round 4/Pick 105
Chances are, the Cards won’t take an outside linebacker, but if there is a mid-rounder who could warrant attention, Byron Young is their guy. At 6’2, 250lb, Young has size similar to what Golden brought, and his 23.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons show us he’s more than capable of breaking into the backfield. Young also had 12.5 sacks between 2021 and 2022.
Replacing Byron Murphy
Emmanuel Forbes, CB/Mississippi State - Round 2/Pick 34
Emmanuel Forbes is perhaps the draft’s biggest mystery at corner. He could go in the first round, or he can drop to the third, depending on whether teams are okay with his build. But with 14 picks, six pick sixes, 290 return yards, and 20 pass deflections, Forbes’ production should be all it takes to entice Ossenfort if he falls to the Redbirds at 34th overall.
Replacing Rodney Hudson
Ricky Stromberg, C/Arkansas - Round 3/Pick 66
While the Arizona Cardinals could still sign a center, their best bet is to acquire a veteran, then take someone in the middle rounds. Ricky Stromberg should still be there with the 66th overall pick, and he would have a chance to start immediately in the desert.
(Statistics provided by Sports-Reference/CFB)