Arizona Cardinals could come out of the first round with a starting cornerback

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The Arizona Cardinals are in desperate need of a top-notch cover guy as they formulate a strategy for the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Arizona Cardinals front office has taken a maddening approach to this spring's free-agent signing period. A bevy of veterans were added, but most of the acquisitions are backup players at best. Unfortunately, many of the roster holes that were present when the offseason got underway still need to be filled.

One major concern for the 2023 Cardinals is a lack of talent at the cornerback position. First-year general manager Monti Ossenfort stood idly by as four-year starter Byron Murphy was lured away by the Minnesota Vikings. That loss occurred back on March 15th, and the front office has done practically nothing to replace the 25-year-old Murphy.

Arizona did bring 30-year-old Antonio Hamilton back into the mix, less than one week after Murphy left town. At the moment, the 6 foot,195 pound journeyman is expected to form a starting duo at corner with third-year pro Marco Wilson. No disrespect to those two individuals, but it's fairly-obvious that the Redbirds could use an upgrade at such a vital part of the secondary.

Arizona Cardinals could have several highly-touted corners to choose from on the draft's opening night

Christian Gonzalez, a 6 foot 2, 200 pounder out of the University of Oregon, is widely recognized at the best cover guy in the upcoming draft. Last fall, the First-team All-Pac 12 performer totaled 50 tackles, four interceptions and seven passes defensed in 12 games for the Ducks. The Cards could probably move back four or five slots in the first round and still come away with the tall and rangy Gonzalez.

Another highly-touted cornerback is Devon Witherspoon, a junior out of the University of Illinois. The 6 foot,170 pounder racked up 157 tackles, five picks and 25 pass breakups in his four campaigns for the Fighting Illini. The Cardinals could likely drop down a bit further in round 1 (maybe six or seven slots) and still manage to land the 22-year old Witherspoon.

Joey Porter Jr., a 6 foot 2,195 pounder out of Penn State University, is expected to be selected somewhere in the middle of the opening round. Over the past two seasons, the 22-year-old registered 77 tackles, an interception and 15 passes defensed for the Nittany Lions. Porter Jr.'s father, Joey Sr., is a four-time Pro Bowler who spent the final two years of his NFL career in the Arizona desert.

One final first-round possibility for the Cards is Deonte Banks, a senior corner out of the University of Maryland. The 6 foot 1, 200 pounder was credited with 38 tackles, a pick and eight pass breakups for the Terrapins last fall. The Cardinals could quite possibly trade down twice, and still have a shot at drafting Banks in the latter portion of round 1.

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(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)