ESPN mock draft has Cardinals going in a shocking direction with 4th overall pick

Uhh... what?

Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears
Arizona Cardinals v Chicago Bears / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals hold the fourth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft after finishing the 2023 season with four wins. There are two main expectations for the Cardinals in the draft, with one being that they'll stand pat and take Marvin Harrison Jr. out of Ohio State. The other is that they might swap spots with a quarterback-needy team, such as the Minnesota Vikings.

Well, Mike Tannenbaum of ESPN had the Cardinals staying put at number four in his mock draft but did not have them going with Harrison or a wide receiver. Tannenbaum had Arizona spending the fourth overall pick on Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy.

"Look, QB availability is crucial in today's NFL -- 66 passers started at least one game last season -- and Kyler Murray hasn't played a full season since 2020. I really like McCarthy's long-term upside. The 21-year-old averaged 9 yards per attempt and completed 72.3% of his throws last season, and he bulked up to 219 pounds at the combine. In short, I think he's a better, younger and more durable quarterback than Murray right now, and I'm not passing up this chance."

Mike Tannenbaum

Cardinals nab a quarterback in ESPN mock draft

In this mock draft, the Cardinals end up trading Kyler Murray to the Vikings and going with McCarthy instead. I know this is the time of year for hot takes but this wouldn't be a popular move for Cardinals fans. The hope is that they stay put at number four and take Harrison, giving Murray a legitimate threat down the field. Taking McCarthy and starting over again at quarterback would be a head scratching move.

Yes, Murray has struggled to stay healthy but injuries happen in the league. Getting him a better offensive line and weapons could go a long way toward limiting him getting hit.

If the Cardinals did go with McCarthy, however, they'd be getting a recent National Champion who threw for 22 touchdowns to just four picks. The argument against McCarthy, however, is that he had a stacked team around him and who knows how that will translate to the NFL when winning games will fall more on his shoulders than it did at the collegiate level.

This would be an interesting move for Arizona but the hope is that they hold onto the fourth pick and take Harrison with that pick.