How the Arizona Cardinals can forge a new identity in one draft

Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl - UAB v Brigham Young
Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl - UAB v Brigham Young / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals may look like they have a weak roster, but they could use the 2023 NFL Draft to completely revamp their current identity.

The Arizona Cardinals have several power plays that they could work with for this weekend’s draft. One of those power plays may involve wheeling and dealing two players, and perhaps even trading back in the draft to snag a plethora of draft picks. 

If they can trade Budda Baker, preferably for another team’s first round pick, move DeAndre Hopkins for a second, and trade the third pick somewhere between the seventh and 11th slots, which could garner them at least another second rounder for 2023, then they can almost completely repurpose their outlook and forge an identity this season.

Such a mentality makes me believe Jonathan Gannon even more when he refused to call this thing a “rebuild.” And if you really think about it, it’s more of a repurpose than anything else. 

Yes, the Arizona Cardinals can repurpose, not rebuild, in 2023

So, if you missed my latest mock draft, it’s worth looking at, since it lays the foundation for repurposing the Cardinals from the failed “Air Raid” system former head coach Kliff Kingsbury envisioned, to a team built to run the ball, and run it often. Which, if you never made the connection, is exactly the kind of system new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing used when he was in Cleveland. 

That particular mock was more conservative, so it included zero trades, unlike my previous mocks. But even it had the Cards taking a tackle (Paris Johnson), a center (John Michael Schmitz), and a running back in DeWayne McBride with the 66th pick. 

Throw in another first rounder if the Cards can send Baker packing either shortly before or during the first round, plus a potential DeAndre Hopkins trade that night for a second, then the Cards can also tap into that deep class of EDGE rushers and cornerbacks, fixing some defensive issues. 

This draft can easily signify the changing of the guard in the desert, further shifting the culture from one of complete turmoil to something at least close to respectability. No, this doesn’t mean the Cards will go from being 4-13 to becoming a powerhouse in one season, but a team that could string together between seven and nine wins certainly wouldn’t be out of the question. 

Draft. Ohio State’s Paris Johnson should be the number one pick. dark