3 reasons why 2023 was never a lost season for the Arizona Cardinals

Through 16 weeks, the Arizona Cardinals are boasting an ugly 3-12 record, but it doesn’t mean the 2023 season was lost.

Dec 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks to hand
Dec 24, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks to hand / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
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Dec 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) against / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2 - The rookie class mostly excelled

You can’t say enough about the Cardinals rookie class, where they found a solid starter (at worst) in Paris Johnson, plus a good rotational EDGE rusher in BJ Ojulari. Cornerback Garrett Williams’ floor is at slot corner, and he could even end up on the outside, and Kei’Trel Clark has also outshined his draft slot. 

Dante Stills has been impressive since he became a regular part of the starting lineup, and Emari Demercado defied the odds as an undrafted rookie. Michael Wilson must build chemistry with quarterback Kyler Murray, but he showed promise earlier in the season. Owen Pappoe, who saw his highest snap count on defense last week, has also come around. 

If the Cardinals hit hard on at least one more draft class the way they have with their 2023 class, then they’re, at worst, 6-9 this time next season. It might not seem like a lot, but that’s twice as many wins, and therefore, a successful year, but Ossenfort needs to enjoy another good draft. 

Source: Rapid rise and use of so many rookies a positive in Arizona Cardinals' rough season by Bob McManaman, AZCentral