Arizona Cardinals could be eyeing some intriguing pass-rushing talent in 2024
By Jim Koch
After passing on Will Anderson Jr. last month, the Arizona Cardinals could look to the 2024 NFL Draft for a blue-chip edge rusher.
In the weeks leading up to last month's NFL Draft, many Arizona Cardinals fans had their hearts set on one particular prospect. Will Anderson Jr., a blue-chip pass rusher out of the University of Alabama, was there for the taking. Instead, general manager Monti Ossenfort agreed to a team-friendly trade that allowed the Houston Texans to land the highly-touted Anderson Jr.
The possibility exists that the Cards front office will one day regret passing on Anderson Jr. However, the haul that Ossenfort acquired for the third-overall choice was way too enticing to pass up. In fact, one of the selections that Arizona acquired in the deal with Houston could be used on one of the blue-chip edge rushers of the 2024 draft class.
There's a very good chance that Ossenfort will have a pair of top 10 (or even better) picks to utilize during next year's opening round. Most experts are predicting that both the Redbirds and Texans will be pretty bad once again in 2023. If those prognostications come to fruition, things could get pretty darn exciting in the Cardinals "War Room" next April.
A slew of edge-rushing options will be available when the Arizona Cardinals embark on the 2024 NFL Draft
When it comes to pass-rushing prospects, the Cards likely won't be able to do better than Florida State University's Jared Verse. In 2022, the 6 foot 4, 250 pound defensive end racked up 47 tackles (17 for a loss) and nine sacks for the Seminoles. Those numbers could grow to an even more impressive level when Verse embarks on his senior campaign for the school this coming September.
While it's true that Arizona took a pass on Anderson Jr. a few weeks back, there's no reason to believe that Ossenfort will do the same with one of the youngster's former Crimson Tide teammates. Dallas Turner, a 6 foot 4, 245 pound linebacker, is currently following in Anderson Jr.'s massive footsteps. In his 24 games with Alabama, the 20-year-old Turner has racked up 67 tackles (18 for a loss) and 12.5 sacks for head coach Nick Saban's vaunted defense.
There are a couple of additional edge rushers who could also intrigue the Cardinals' decision-makers. Ohio State University defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau has amassed 45 tackles (15 for a loss), seven sacks, two interceptions and four pass breakups over the last two seasons for the Buckeyes. Jack Sawyer, a teammate of Tuimoloau's, totaled 35 tackles (9.5 for a loss) and 7.5 sacks during that same time period.
It's worth noting that Ossenfort did select LSU pass-rush specialist BJ Ojulari during Round 2 of the '23 draft. There are high hopes for the 6 foot 3, 250 pounder, but most would agree that Ojulari isn't on Anderson Jr.'s level. Look for the Cards to target a pass rusher who is that elite with one of the club's 10 selections next spring.
(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)