One way that we can tell the Steve Keim era is long gone in the desert is the fact that Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort saw more than a few rookies he drafted contribute in 2023. Under Keim, this was a rare occurrence, but the culture has shifted and so many future assets from one draft class provide more proof of the change.
Therefore, it was rather challenging to rank the top half of the 2023 class, because of how productive those residing near the top were. However, one rookie played so well that they never missed a snap, which ultimately gave them the No. 1 ranking. Keep reading to discover where your favorite rookies ranked from the 2023 draft class.
Which Arizona Cardinals rookie enjoyed the best year in 2023?
9th - Jon Gaines II, OL
Jon Gaines II takes ninth place by default since a preseason injury kept him from playing a single snap in 2023. However, given the turbulence at left guard, Gaines would have had a chance to receive ample playing time had he stayed healthy, and he should get that opportunity in 2024.
8th - Clayton Tune, QB
No, Clayton Tune shouldn’t take the full blame for how poorly the offense played in Week 9. But he didn’t even show a flash of brilliance in that game, and it makes you wonder whether his future is in the UFL. However, Tune should get at least one more season to prove he can settle in as Kyler Murray’s long-term backup.
7th - Owen Pappoe, LB
Owen Pappoe also has an ultra-small sample size as he didn’t receive playing time on defense until late in the year. Overall, he didn’t show that he could be a sound solution for the Cardinals poor rushing defense, though he showed flashes on special teams, which isn’t bad for a fifth-round pick.