Bold Prediction: Every rookie on the Arizona Cardinals defense will shine in 2023

Wake Forest v Louisville
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The Arizona Cardinals may have become the NFL’s laughingstock over the past year, but there is no denying that they had a strong draft, especially on defense.

The Arizona Cardinals drafted five defensive players in the 2023 NFL Draft, each at positions of need. And when you look at them, the likes of B.J. Ojulari, Garrett Williams, and Owen Pappoe all could have been first, or early-second round talents. 

Somehow, general manager Monti Ossenfort not only landed what will be a dynamic trio three years from now, but he also stockpiled a ransom of draft picks for 2024. This means, assuming Ossenfort has more hits than misses, the Cards fortunes will turn faster than you think. 

But let’s take things year-by-year. And although, just by looking at their 2024 opponents, the Cardinals are probably a 4-13 or 5-12 team this season. However, if the Redbirds finish the year in a better place than when they started it, consider 2023 a success. 

This means player development and production from the youngsters. Which, by the way, I’m expecting big things from EACH draft pick on defense. 

Arizona Cardinals rookies on defense will shine in 2023

Let’s start with B.J. Ojulari, who made a name for himself as a pass rusher in college. This season, he will start in a rotation, but by the end of the year, look for Ojulari to be a full-time starter. And since we’re making bold predictions, I’m saying he reaches at least 7.5 sacks. 

Garrett Williams won’t play immediately, but when he does, you will know why Monti Ossenfort and Company were so high on a kid who was having a monster season before a torn ACL derailed it. Williams will be rusty upon his return, but his performance will put him in the conversation to be the CB1 next season. And besides, the last time the Arizona Cardinals drafted a corner named Williams in the third round, it turned out rather well for them. 

Owen Pappoe, like Ojulari, will also be a rotational piece early. But since Krys Barnes fits best as a primary backup/relief player, Pappoe will be yet another rookie who will take over a starting job by the time Week 18 rolls around. 

Kei’Trel Clark is one draft pick who I feel will start the season on the practice squad. But when the Cards are out of the running, he’s getting a call-up, and he will play well enough to enter 2024 to fight for a spot as a nickelback. 

Finally, we got Dante Stills, a defensive tackle who couldn’t have ended up in a better situation. Once Rashard Lawrence again struggles with injuries and Leki Fotu struggles performance-wise, Stills is getting his chance, and he will end the season as a primary rotational piece. 

Related. A one-sentence outlook for each member of the 2023 Arizona Cardinals offense. dark