The Arizona Cardinals have seen some productivity from their 2023 draft class in the early going. Paris Johnson Jr. has started in every game, while Garrett Williams made an impact this past weekend against the Seattle Seahawks in his NFL debut.
The Cards also may have found a dynamic pass catcher in Michael Wilson, plus a pair of depth pieces slash role players with Kei’Trel Clark and Dante Stills. However, three draft picks have yet to live up to their billing, but there were players picked after them who would have served the Redbirds well from Day One.
Below, you will catch three prospects from the 2023 draft who were there for the taking when the Cardinals were on the clock in the second, fourth, and fifth rounds. Who should the Redbirds have selected with these picks, and how would they be serving the team today?
3 players the Arizona Cardinals should have drafted
1 - Keeanu Benton, DT, 41st overall
- Original Pick: BJ Ojulari, EDGE
The Arizona Cardinals rolled with EDGE rusher BJ Ojulari with the 41st overall pick, but a preseason injury kept the Redbirds original second-rounder from taking the field. Just eight picks later, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted defensive tackle Keeanu Benton, and although he hasn’t produced eye-popping numbers, the talent-starved defensive line could have used the former Wisconsin product.
So far in 2023, Benton has a PFF Grade of 80.8, which ranks 10th among qualified defensive tackles. Despite logging just 10 solo tackles, he has forced a fumble, seven stops, a sack, three quarterback hits, and eight total pressures.
Meanwhile, Ojulari has a grade of just 63.1, four total tackles (zero solo), one quarterback hit, and just five pressures. It’s clear that Ojulari won’t be helping much in Year 1 unless injuries ravage the Cardinals EDGE rushers, but Benton would have been the plug-and-play type once the bug hit the defensive line hard earlier in the season.