High character draft class further shifts Arizona Cardinals culture

Paris Johnson Jr. (center) with general manager Monti Ossenfort (left) and head coach Jonathan
Paris Johnson Jr. (center) with general manager Monti Ossenfort (left) and head coach Jonathan / Mark Henle/The Republic / USA TODAY

Throughout most of the Arizona Cardinals history, it’s been nothing but headaches, headaches, and more headaches.

There is no reason to sugarcoat the following statement: The Arizona Cardinals are arguably the worst of the 32 NFL franchises from a historical standpoint. Sure, they’ve been to a Super Bowl, they even won an NFL Championship (1947), and stole one two decades before that (1925). 

But when you look at their history, it’s been nothing but a series of mistakes that culminated in only a handful of division titles and playoff wins. Then came a neverending circus of shame that started in 2022 and in the case of owner Michael Bidwill, is still ongoing. 

Fortunately for the Cardinals, that seems to be changing, and they wouldn’t be the first franchise to, slowly but surely, change their organizational outlook from perennial losers into contenders. One way to do that is to hire the right personnel looking for specific qualities in the players they draft, and it’s exactly what general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon did. 

Arizona Cardinals culture continues to trend north with 2023 Draft Class

We don’t know if Jonathan Gannon or Monti Ossenfort will be any good, but at least we know what they are looking for in a player. No, they are not just looking for ultra-talented guys who can light up a fantasy football statsheet on weekends between September and January. 

Instead, Gannon and Ossenfort want to see high-character players come in and play for the Cardinals. Here is what Gannon said on the matter last Tuesday:

"“I think the thing that stands out that I’m most pleased with is the character of the guys. That was important to me and (general manager) Monti Ossenfort, our entire staff. We know that high-character guys typically hit their ceiling and help you win games as a team.”"

Jonathan Gannon

Source: Jonathan Gannon, Cardinals more than ready to mold 2023 draft class by Tyler Drake, ArizonaSports.com

And when you look at some of the guys they drafted, they exemplify that. B.J. Ojulari, for example, wore number 18 in college because LSU felt he “best exemplifies the program,” in the words of Arizona Sports’ Tyler Drake. A ringing endorsement, for sure. 

Look for Ossenfort and Gannon to continue looking for players who display character traits similar to Ojulari and the rest of the 2023 draft class. With each passing season, such players will continue to shift the Arizona Cardinals historically losing culture into one of respectability. 

This won’t all happen in a year. But three years from today, considering these prospects are also good fits for the NFL, the Redbirds will have adopted an entirely different identity, and one for the better. 

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