Arizona Cardinals earn high grade in 2023 NFL Draft

West Virginia v Texas Tech
West Virginia v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals completed their 2023 Draft today, and the Redbirds snagged nine solid players to upgrade what many call one of the NFL’s weakest rosters.

The Arizona Cardinals restocked their roster and fulfilled needs on both sides of the ball, hitting the offensive and defensive lines hard. They snagged two corners, plus a high-risk, high-reward pass catcher. 

Arizona also found a potential long-term answer at backup quarterback, and they got an intriguing prospect at linebacker. So how did general manager Monti Ossenfort fare in his first draft? Keep reading for more. 

Arizona Cardinals add potential-laden talent based on need

Round 1, Pick 6: Paris Johnson, T/Ohio State

No surprise here. The Arizona Cardinals got it right when they picked arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft, and one who could stick around the desert for quite some time. Grade: A

Round 2, Pick 10: B.J. Ojulari, OLB/LSU

Without Zach Allen and J.J. Watt in the lineup for 2023, the Arizona Cardinals needed to bolster their rotation at edge. Cam Thomas and Myjai Sanders are good, but they’re not potential game-changers. B.J. Ojulari could change that. Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 9: Garrett Williams, CB/Syracuse

You could argue that the Cards could have rolled with Kelee Ringo here, in lieu of Garrett Williams’ ACL injury. But the Syracuse corner was having a big year beforehand, so there is a good chance Ossenfort landed a steal here. Grade: B

Round 3, Pick 31: Michael Wilson, WR/Stanford

Michael Wilson dealt with injuries for three straight seasons. But when healthy, he was one of the nation’s most productive receivers. If Wilson can stay out of the training room, look for him to make an immediate impact. Grade: B

Round 4, Pick 20: Jon Gaines II, OG/UCLA

The Arizona Cardinals should have gone with a center here as opposed to a guard. And while Jon Gianes II could provide immediate depth, what’s the answer at center? I would have taken center Luke Wypler here, despite the fact he dropped to the sixth round. Grade: D

Round 5, Pick 5: Clayton Tune, QB/Houston

Clayton Tune is the fifth quarterback on the Arizona Cardinals depth chart at the time of this writing. But it shouldn’t matter, Ossenfort was smart to take one here. We know Jeff Driskel, Colt McCoy, or David Blough are not adequate long-term answers, so take one with the potential to be the long-term solution. Grade: A

Round 5, Pick 34: Owen Pappoe, ILB/Auburn

Don’t the Cardinals have enough linebackers? Not when Isaiah Simmons could be playing all over the defense and Zaven Collins could be kicking outside. That left a potential void to fill at inside linebacker, and Owen Pappoe can step right in and contribute. Grade: A

Round 6, Pick 3: Kei’Trel Clark, CB/Louisville

Kei’Trel Clark is small, but he’s made some splash plays at Louisville. He’s got potential to stick to a roster weak at cornerback. Overall, the Cardinals could have went with a much-needed center here, but this late in the draft, you’re going with potential. Grade: A

Round 6, Pick 36, Dante Stills, DT/West Virginia

Dante Stills is that late-round pick who could see ample time on the field in Year 1. The former Mountaineer can realistically outplay incumbents Rashard Lawrence and Leki Fotu. He will also challenge Carlos Watkins. Grade: A

Overall, or in immediate hindsight, general manager Monti Ossenfort is getting an A from me. Now this could change a few years from now, but he addressed team needs and waited until the middle rounds before taking high-risk, high-reward prospects.

Related. Cardinals fill more needs on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft. dark