Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s new offensive tools from NFL Draft
The Arizona Cardinals concluded their 2022 NFL Draft with five new offensive players to help quarterback Kyler Murray, tallying four rookies and a veteran.
Wide receiver Marquise Brown, a fourth-year player whom the Cardinals traded their first-round pick for, doesn’t need much of an introduction.
But Arizona didn’t stop there in giving Murray some added help offensively, selecting two offensive linemen in the later rounds, a running back and the top-rated tight end on general manager Steve Keim’s board.
With a handful of new faces on the roster, here’s a look at Arizona’s 2022 offensive draft class:
TE Trey McBride, Colorado State (No. 55, second round)
The Cardinals’ second-round selection of McBride was a no-brainer for the front office. Keim said he was his top-rated player remaining on the board and the best tight end in the class.
The Cardinals addressed tight end earlier this offseason by re-signing Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams while adding Stephen Anderson, but McBride’s talent was too much to pass up for Keim.
“We always have to remember we owe it to the organization to do the right things for not only today but tomorrow and the future,” Keim told reporters Friday. “We got a young quarterback that we’re excited about, we have a 24-year-old receiver we added yesterday (Brown) and we just added another young dynamic playmaker as a tight end, so it made sense in every way.”
The Cardinals ran 12-personnel 22% of the time last year, according to Sharp Football Analysis. Plus, Williams is working his way back from a torn ACL he suffered in Week 5 last year.
McBride is a sure-handed player who can make contested grabs and run after the catch. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he can play the Y and also behind the line of scrimmage at F-back.
RB Keaontay Ingram, USC (No. 201, sixth round)
The second playmaker the Cardinals added was a 6-foot running back in the sixth round. Ingram gained 911 rushing yards in 10 games with USC last season after transferring from Texas.
He joins Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward in the competition for backup snaps behind starter James Conner. The Cardinals lost Chase Edmonds in free agency and needed depth at the position entering the draft.
“I would love to take some knowledge from (Conner) coming in, under his wing and just learn what it takes to be a valuable running back in the NFL,” Ingram told reporters after getting drafted Saturday.
Keim called Ingram a strong downhill runner and a special teamer who has a chance to contribute early.
OL Lecitus Smith, Virginia Tech (No. 215, sixth round)
The Cardinals wanted to beef up their guard depth with two picks, starting with Smith.
Smith was a big tight end in high school who transitioned to the offensive line in college.
Keim said he liked Smith’s athleticism and work in the second level.
The Cardinals had injuries pop up all over the offensive line last year and were in need of depth down the stretch. Justin Murray missed most of the year, Josh Jones struggled with flags and Max Garcia departed in free agency.
Arizona added Will Hernandez, but Keim said a goal of his was to add volume to the room.
“Volume speaks for itself,” Keim said. “The two offensive linemen are a little bit different, yet at the same time, they’re both really physical guys. And I think having Sean Kugler as one of the better line coaches, I think he’ll certainly be able to do a lot of work with those guys.”
Smith, who started at left guard last year, said he’s hungry to compete for a spot.
OL Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma (No. 257, seventh round)
Hayes has a history with Murray and Brown. The trio were teammates in 2017 and 2018 with the Sooners.
“Those are two fantastic players and two fantastic people off the field, so just to be around that and that camaraderie, I feel good,” Hayes told reporters Saturday.
Hayes redshirted in 2017 and then was a backup the following year. He started every game last season at left guard and said he has been getting some work on the right side lately.
He admitted that he can work on his flexibility and hand placement, while Keim complimented his power at the line of scrimmage.