Arizona Cardinals Prediction: Owen Pappoe will see an extended role

Auburn v Ole Miss
Auburn v Ole Miss / Justin Ford/GettyImages

When you talk about potential draft day steals for the Arizona Cardinals, Owen Pappoe may be the first name that comes to mind.

When the Arizona Cardinals first called Owen Pappoe’s name, I said to myself, “Yeesh! Another linebacker?” But at this point, we don't know where Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons will end up playing, so with that said, the Cards suddenly needed a linebacker

Sure, Kyzir White and Krys Barnes are good, but the latter fits best as a rotational piece and not as a full-time starter. Enter Owen Pappoe, who proved to be a sure tackler at the University of Auburn, having logged 91 total in just 12 games last season. 

Pappoe also visited general manager Monti Ossenfort, head coach Jonathan Gannon, and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis during the pre-draft process. The fact the Cards had Pappoe in their top 30 and still landed him on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft speaks volumes regarding what they think of him. 

Owen Pappoe may end up starting for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023

Pappoe is walking into an ideal situation, even if it’s not the most ideal for the Cardinals. Collins is facing a potential position switch, while Simmons could wind up at safety if the Cards can’t move forward with Budda Baker. 

So to have such a good value pick speaks wonders. Pappoe can easily find himself competing for the starting job as early as training camp if he impressed coaches during rookie minicamp and offseason practices. 

Whether he wins the starting job remains to be seen. But you can count on Pappoe, at worst, seeing an extended role with the Arizona Cardinals even early in the season, and moving forward, he could transform into a leader on a defense that may need a few of them to step up. 

Source: Cardinals see a polished linebacker in 5th-round pick Owen Pappoe by Jess Root,

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(Statistics provided by Sports-Reference/CFB)