NFL analyst believes Arizona Cardinals Day 3 pick may start in 2023

USF v Louisville
USF v Louisville / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

Arizona Cardinals rookie cornerback Ke’Trel Clark received a major endorsement from Chad Reuter of the NFL Network yesterday.

You see it happen in the NFL Draft each season. There is always that dozen or so of rookies drafted on Day 3 that will snake their way into the starting lineup and refuse to relinquish their spot. 

Chad Reuter of the NFL Network recently penned an article outlining 12 of those players, and among them, Kei’Trel Clark (180th overall) made the list of 12 rookies taken on Day 3 who could find their way into the starting lineup. While this claim surprised me since Clark will likely play second fiddle to fellow rookie corner Garrett Williams if the latter is cleared to play sooner than later, it’s a ringing endorsement nonetheless that I hope becomes a reality. 

So what was Reuter’s justification? Here’s a snippet of what he had to say:

"“It’s not entirely clear what Simmons’ role will be this season after he spent most of his time at cornerback and linebacker in 2022. Clark could step into the slot immediately, as the young corner is aggressive despite lacking size (5-10, 181).”"

Chad Reuter

Will Arizona Cardinals rookie Kei-Trel Clark start in 2023?

As much as I’d like to agree with Reuter, I don’t see it happening immediately. At this point, we will eventually see Marco Wilson line up opposite of Garrett Williams when the latter is ready to contribute. Early on, Wilson will line up with Hamilton who, despite his older age, played in a more limited role earlier in his career. 

There is also the possibility Christian Matthew makes the jump from Year 1 to Year 2. In 2022, the rookie toiled through an up-and-down campaign, so if he gets more consistent this season, he will be tough for Clark to beat out for the slot corner role. 

The upside for Clark, however, is that with the Arizona Cardinals getting younger and with a new regime in place, there are better odds that head coach Jonathan Gannon may rather focus on those general manager Monti Ossenfort brought in. This could, in time, at least, give Clark an advantage over Matthew. 

The other cornerbacks on the roster should be mere rentals, regardless of their respective contract lengths. And even if Clark starts things off behind the eight-ball at the position, he should eventually pass up the likes of Kris Boyd, Rashad Fenton, and Nate Hairston with ease. 

Must Read. Arizona Cardinals 2023 schedule will revisit 5 classic rivalries. dark

Source: 2023 NFL season: Day 3 rookies who could compete for starter snaps in Year 1 by Chad Reuter,