Intriguing opening-round options for the Arizona Cardinals in 2024
By Jim Koch
There will be plenty of blue-chip talent available when the Arizona Cardinals take advantage of a pair of first-round draft picks in 2024.
Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort deserves major props for what he pulled off during last month's NFL Draft. Orchestrating a trade with the Houston Texans, a squad that's expected to win very few games in 2023, was quite impressive. With the Cards expected to struggle this coming fall as well, there's a very good chance that Ossenfort could have two top-five selections at his disposal when the 2024 draft rolls around.
Take one look at Arizona's roster, and you'll see that Ossenfort and his cohorts have their work cut out for them. There are very few positions that couldn't use an upgrade. Luckily for the Redbirds, next year's draft class will provide the club with the opportunity to shore up several areas of the roster.
The Cardinals passed on University of Alabama edge-rusher Will Anderson Jr. three weeks ago, but they may not want to ignore such an important position again next spring. Florida State University defensive end Jared Verse was tremendous last fall, totaling 48 tackles (17 for a loss) and nine sacks for the Seminoles. Those members of the "Red Sea" who had their hearts set on Anderson Jr. being the opening-round choice would likely feel a whole lot better if the 6 foot 4, 250 pound Verse is added in '24.
Many Cards followers will be clamoring for a change at the quarterback spot next offseason, and University of North Carolina stud Drake Maye could be on their radar. It's becoming more and more apparent that Kyler Murray isn't the answer, so dumping the tiny signal-caller in favor of the 6 foot 5, 220 pound Maye could be a popular move. The 20-year-old contributed 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns through the air last season, and was also credited with another 698 yards and seven scores on the ground for the Tar Heels offense.
The Arizona Cardinals could dip into The Ohio State University pool of talent once again in 2024
It appears that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will remain with the Cardinals for now, but Ohio State University star Marvin Harrison Jr. could be brought in to replace him. In 2022, the 6 foot 3, 202 pounder tallied 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Buckeyes. The "Big Red" passing attack would be flying high with Maye throwing to Harrison Jr. for the next 10 years or so.
Arizona will eventually have to address one of the most horrendous defensive lines in the league, and Ohio State's Michael Hall Jr. would definitely help. At 6 foot 3, 290 pounds, the emerging star could be utilized by coordinator Nick Rallis at both the tackle and end spots. In his first year as a full-time starter, Hall Jr. registered 19 tackles (7.5 for a loss) and 4.5 sacks for the Buckeyes defense last year.
The Cards hierarchy could be armed to control the first round of the draft next April. What they ultimately do on that fateful night could shape the franchise for the next decade or so. Ossenfort's goal is to deliver a Super Bowl title to the "Valley of the Sun", and those two top-notch choices will go a long way in helping the GM to achieve that goal.
(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)