Earlier today, we learned that there is no guarantee Marvin Harrison Jr. will enter the 2024 NFL Draft, and if that becomes the case, the Arizona Cardinals will be forced to alter their plans if they are seriously considering taking the Ohio State product if he’s available come April. Harrison wasn’t shy about his current stance at the moment, saying the following:
""I'm still undecided. You guys know, coming into this year, I wanted to beat 'The Team Up North' [Michigan] and win a Big Ten championship. And obviously I didn't do that this year. So I think that's a great motive to come back, if that's what I decide to do, because that's something I definitely wanted to do in my Ohio State career. Not being able to have done that yet definitely opens the door for me to come back.""- Marvin Harrison Jr.
Source: Marvin Harrison Jr. 'undecided,' considering return to Ohio State,, by Blake Baumgartner, ESPN
This may not affect the Cardinals draft plans if they win a couple more games and end up in a position outside the top five, in which they likely wouldn’t snag Harrison even if he entered the draft. But as it stands, the Cards have a top-three pick, and Harrison is the most logical option for a team that needs a dynamic pass-catcher.
If Marvin Harrison Jr. sticks around Columbus for another season and doesn’t enter the draft, suppose the Cardinals still get the third pick. Who would they be likely to select without the dynamic pass-catcher available?
Arizona Cardinals may not get a chance to draft Harrison regardless
Offensive Olu Fashanu is the first option that comes to mind, since the Cards will be searching for another young offensive tackle sooner than later if they part ways with D.J. Humphries. Joe Alt, currently looked at as the second-ranked offensive tackle, is another option and he, along with Fashanu, is currently slated as a top-five pick in Tankathon’s latest mock draft.
If the Cardinals would rather draft a receiver early, they may use the pick on Malik Nabers, another big-play option with over 1,500 receiving yards and 14 touchdown receptions. Tight end Brock Bowers could also be in play here, as the highly-touted Georgia product could immediately form one of the best duos in football with Trey McBride.
The Arizona Cardinals could also opt to bump up their defense, as EDGE rushers Laiatu Latu and Dallas Turner could also sneak their way into top-five territory. However, with all the aforementioned names sans the two tackles, the Cards could pull off a trade like they did last year, move down the first round, make their selection, and accumulate more picks.
For now, we will continue to watch and see what decision Harrison decides to make, which will likely come around or after the Cotton Bowl, when the Buckeyes will conclude their 2023 season.
(Additional statistics provided by Tankathon)