Arizona Cardinals: How each rookie factors in as a puzzle piece beyond 2023

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Clayton Tune (15) practices in the Cardinals rookie minicamp in Tempe
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Clayton Tune (15) practices in the Cardinals rookie minicamp in Tempe / Mingson Lau/The Republic / USA TODAY
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The Arizona Cardinals roster has taken a bad rap in recent months for supposedly lacking adequate puzzle pieces on the roster.

The Arizona Cardinals drafted and signed a plethora of rookies who will factor in as puzzle pieces both now and in the near-future. It started three weeks ago on April 27th with Paris Johnson, and it didn’t end until they called up several intriguing priority free agents. 

Below, we’re covering how each player the Cardinals drafted factors in as a puzzle piece with the team in 2023. This is not a projection of where each will play this season, but instead, how they will either immediately or ultimately factor in as major contributors. Let’s get started.

Paris Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (70) speaks after the Cardinals rookie / Mingson Lau/The Republic / USA TODAY

How each Arizona Cardinals rookie factors in as a major puzzle piece

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Paris Johnson is one of those rookies who will contribute the second the Arizona Cardinals put on the helmet and shoulder pads. This season, he’s a guard, but as you can already figure out, unless he doesn’t adapt well in the NFL, he will transform into a tackle. 

B.J. Ojulari, regardless of whether he’s a defensive end or an outside linebacker, will start his career rotating on a pitch count. If he adapts quickly, look for him to end the season as the starter, and he will go into 2024 as the primary pass rusher. At worst, Ojulari will continue to rotate with the likes of Cam Thomas and Myjai Sanders, among others. 

Garrett Williams must wait until he’s cleared for action. Once he crosses that hurdle, he will compete to be the Cards nickel or dime corner early. Look for him to excel and rise to the CB2 level, at the absolute least, by January. In a worst-case scenario, he enters 2024 as a nickelback, freeing star backer Isaiah Simmons to perhaps return to his natural position-assuming the Cards re-sign him. 

Michael Wilson is at this point, the WR5 on the depth chart behind DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore, and Greg Dortch. As for an overall pass catcher, you can also put him behind Zach Ertz and Trey McBride. Health is Wilson’s biggest concern, and if he can stay healthy, he could become a big target in a WR3 role by the end of 2023, with perhaps an expanded role in 2024.