5 star players the Arizona Cardinals could’ve drafted in past five years

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The Arizona Cardinals struggled in their respective drafts under Steve Keim. How bad did it get? Let’s check out five star players the team could have drafted.

How can you describe Steve Keim’s tenure as Arizona Cardinals general manager? Missed opportunity after missed opportunity. Here is a list of who Keim took or traded for as his top pick in the NFL Draft between 2018 and 2022 in descending order, and as you can see, the list isn’t great.

  • 2022 - Traded to Baltimore for Marquise Brown
  • 2021 - Zaven Collins
  • 2020 - Isaiah Simmons
  • 2019 - Kyler Murray
  • 2018 - Josh Rosen

Brown, Collins, Simmons, and Murray have all seen their fair share of success and productivity. But they are far from being star players in this league, even a player like Murray, who has two Pro Bowls to his name. Rosen was a complete bust and arguably the worst first round pick in team history, or at least in recent memory. 

So who could the Cardinals have drafted instead? Here are five star players, or budding stars, that Keim could have taken over his original selections. Each draft pick listed below comes AFTER Keim’s initial top pick listed above, between 2018 and 2022.

Breece Hall
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5 NFL stars the Arizona Cardinals could have drafted

2022 Draft: Breece Hall, RB/Iowa State

Drafted by: New York Jets, 36th overall

First up, we have Breece Hall, who may have been in contention for Offensive Rookie of the Year had he not suffered a major knee injury. Before the draft, I was a huge fan of Hall, even advocating for the Arizona Cardinals to draft him in the second round. 

And while I was cool with Trey McBride coming to the desert, it’s tough to think what could have been with Hall, given his rookie season in 2022. He rushed for 463 yards, four touchdowns, and 5.8 yards per carry in just seven contests, and if you do the math, it stretches to 1,124 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 19 catches and 218 receiving yards for a score. 

2021 Draft: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE/Miami

Drafted by: Miami Dolphins, 18th overall

In the next slide, I have the Arizona Cardinals taking Ohio State’s Nick Bosa at second overall as opposed to the overrated Kyler Murray. Two seasons later, the Redbirds could have taken Jaelan Phillips, who went two slots behind Zaven Collins at 18th overall. 

While Phillips isn’t necessarily a star player in this league yet, he’s undoubtedly one who possesses a consistent motor, having logged 15.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss in his young career. With Collins moving to EDGE/outside linebacker this season, perhaps he puts up some Phillips-like numbers, but it would have been great to have snagged the surefire pass rusher to line up opposite of Bosa.