2 - The Arizona Cardinals trade the number three pick to the Houston Texans
Monti Ossenfort’s biggest trade was the first one he made as the Cardinals general manager. In the first round he dropped down to twelve and then quickly back up to become the talk of the town on draft night.
Altogether the Arizona Cardinals walked away with an additional first and third round pick in 2024, as well as the number 33 pick in the 2023 draft which was later traded for an additional third rounder from the Tennessee Titans.
After this flurry of moves, the Arizona Cardinals have greater clarity on where these draft picks are expected to be positioned. A disappointing revelation of this NFL season is the lackluster value of the 2024 Houston Texans first round draft pick.
At 4-4 the Houston Texans would be selecting 15th if the season were to end today. This is far from fan’s initial expectations of the Redbirds being able to lock down two top five picks in the 2024 NFL draft.
While one would hope the Texans pick becomes more favorable in the latter half of the season, the entire trade does not hinge on this single pick. Even just in a simple comparison, one could say the Arizona Cardinals effectively opted to draft Paris Johnson instead of Will Anderson. So how do they stack up against one another?
As expected, Will Anderson has looked like a very talented pass rusher in his rookie season. Despite just 2.0 sacks, he is top five in the entire league in pass rush win rate. The Arizona Cardinals drafted Paris Johnson to fill a position of need and he looks to be someone of a similar talent level. Johnson has started every game for the Arizona Cardinals and allowed three sacks on 584 offensive snaps. He has come down to Earth after a strong start but he has shown enough promise to be a mainstay tackle for the next decade.
This comparison allows a reframing of the trade: did the Arizona Cardinals accrue enough talent to close the talent gap between Will Anderson and Paris Johnson? That is a question that does not have an answer yet, but Monti Ossenfort has done a good enough job with this trade where he does not need to hit on every pick to close that gap.
The winner of the trade will come down to Paris Johnson’s development and Ossenfort’s ability to nail draft selections. The value of the Texans picks being worse than expected does not mean that the Cardinals lost this trade, it just means that Monti Ossenfort has to work a little bit harder to find future cornerstones of the franchise.