Because the Arizona Cardinals are 2-9, general manager Monti Ossenfort and everyone, from the front office to the coaching staff, are also 2-9. But don’t let that record reflect too much on the job Ossenfort has done as the Redbirds general manager, because his overhauling of the roster goes far beyond just getting the first few picks of the NFL draft right.
Despite his struggles last week, sixth-overall pick Paris Johnson has started every game and played well. BJ Ojulari, Garrett Williams, and Michael Wilson, when healthy, have exceeded expectations so far, and so has sixth-round pick Dante Stills, who looks more like that pick who should have gone on Day 2, or at worst, earlier on Day 3.
But Stills’ success shows us just how much of a knack Ossenfort has for finding talent late in the draft. And it doesn’t stop with the former West Virginia Mountaineer, since Ossenfort also signed rookie running back Emari Demercado following the draft, and the former TCU product looks like he could also remain in Glendale for a while.
Arizona Cardinals general manager has been an expert at picking up cast-offs
Not only has Ossenfort excelled in his first draft (so far), he also may have picked up a few long-term solutions who were otherwise afterthoughts. Roy Lopez is a fine example of a player who was out of a job in early September, only to latch onto the Cardinals. Lopez has no starts, but he’s been productive so far in his 215 snaps.
When the Cards released Nolan Cooney earlier in the year, they signed Blake Gillikin, who has been quite the upgrade at punter. Gillikin currently ranks third in the NFL with 50.8 yards per, and not a single one of his 30 punts has landed in the end zone for a touchback.
Michael Carter could factor in as Ossenfort’s latest recreation project, having been scooped up last week off of waivers. It will be interesting to see if Carter follows those earlier success stories and can also leave his mark on the 2023 Arizona Cardinals.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)