Arizona Cardinals seem likely to use 1st-round choice on cornerback in 2024

The Arizona Cardinals would be smart to utilize one of their two opening-round picks in 2024 on a position that has become a bona fide weakness.
Delaware v Penn State
Delaware v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Last April, Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort used not one, but two of the club's nine draft picks on what had become a dire situation at cornerback. Third-round addition Garrett Williams showed promise in his two appearances thus far, recording an interception in his first professional contest. Kei'Trel Clark, a sixth-round choice of the Cards, has struggled as of late after being thrown to the wolves as an overmatched rookie.

With a pair of opening-round selections at his disposal when the 2024 NFL Draft rolls around, it seems more than likely that Ossenfort will spend at least one of the two picks on a cover guy. Arizona can't afford to ignore the issue again, like they did during the past offseason. Thanks to some wheeling and dealing by the team's first-year GM, "Big Red" will even have some extra ammunition that can be utilized to address the problem during next spring's draft.

The biggest prize of next year's cornerbacks class appears to be Kool-Aid McKinstry, a 21-year-old out of the University of Alabama. In eight games this fall, the 6 foot 1,194 pounder has tallied 20 tackles and five passes defensed for the Crimson Tide defense. Landing the highly-touted McKinstry will probably require the possession of a top-10 pick, something the Cardinals seem well on their way to achieving this fall.

Arizona's other first-round selection came from a trade that Ossenfort made with the Houston Texans during the opening night of this past April's draft. That choice may not be as prized as expected, based on the Texans' surprisingly impressive play this year. Even so, there are several additional corners who could still be on the board when the Redbirds are ready to utilize what could still be a very valuable selection from Houston.

Arizona Cardinals could have their pick of several intriguing cornerback prospects next April

Penn State University's Kalen King is another young cover guy who could pique the interest of the Cards. The 5 foot 11,187 pounder was outstanding in 2022, racking up 30 tackles, three interceptions and an eye-popping 18 pass breakups for the Nittany Lions. Arizona should certainly be in play for the 20-year-old's services, due to the fact that the talented King is projected to go somewhere in the middle of round 1 in '24.

Cooper DeJean, a 6 foot 1, 207 pounder, has the size and length that comes in handy in today's National Football League. The University of Iowa product opened some eyes in '22 when he totaled 75 tackles, eight passes defensed and five picks for the squad. DeJean flashed tremendous big-play ability as well, returning three of the interceptions for Hawkeye touchdowns.

One more prospect who could be on Ossenfort's radar is Denzel Burke, a 6 foot 1,190 pounder out of Ohio State University. In 31 appearances for the Buckeyes, the 20-year-old has been credited with 78 tackles, two picks and 26 pass breakups. It would be a homecoming for the cornerback if he was drafted by the Cardinals, being that Burke spent his childhood in Phoenix.


(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)