The 5: What to know about new Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort
The Arizona Cardinals announced the hiring of general manager Monti Ossenfort on Monday after a decade of Steve Keim at the helm, just eight days after the end of the season.
Ossenfort brings years of scouting and drafting experience, working in the NFL for 21 years.
Let’s get to know the new GM:
New England career
The 44-year-old spent 15 of his 21 seasons with the New England Patriots. Over his 15 seasons, Ossenfort served as director of college scouting (2014-19), assistant director of college scouting (2011-13), national scout (2008-10), area scout (2006-07) and a personnel assistant (2003).
The new Cardinals GM spent two seasons with the Houston Texans as a pro and college scouting assistant before returning to the Patriots.
Ossenfort climbed through the ranks with New England before leaving for the Tennessee Titans as director of player personnel in 2020, a position he held for three seasons.
Patriots’ draft pick history
Ossenfort played a role in helping draft players such as QBs Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett and Jarrett Stidham (all who started games in the NFL this season), RBs Sony Michel and Damien Harris, offensive linemen Joe Thuney, Isaiah Wynn, Shaq Mason, Ted Karras, Cameron Fleming and former Arizona State standout WR N’Keal Harry.
The listed offensive linemen all started for a team in the NFL last season.
He also was an assistant director of college scouting in 2012 when the team selected edge rusher Chandler Jones in the first round.
The No. 3 pick will be Ossenfort’s highest selection for the team he is on in his 21 years in the NFL.
Ability to trade back
The former Patriot front office member has been a part of the franchise’s ability to trade back in the draft and get more in the latter rounds, positions where New England especially hit on offensive line prospects.
The Patriots have had a history of trading back in the draft, most recently sending the No. 21 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Kansas City Chiefs.
According to NESN, New England has made 46 in-draft trades from 2010-21, nearly all of which when Ossenfort was with the team.
This includes 29 times trading down, 16 times trading up and three times trading for players.
Trades by round:
Round 1: 7
Round 2: 13
Round 3: 11
Round 4: 3
Round 5: 7
Round 6: 4
Round 7: 3
Arizona sits in a curious position at the No. 3 pick in 2023. It could select the top non-quarterback prospect on the board or be in a position to trade back for assets with a team eyeing quarterbacks like Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud or Alabama’s Bryce Young.
Connection with Brian Flores
While with the Patriots, Ossenfort served with Brian Flores, who was an assistant with New England from 2004-18.
Flores, now a senior defensive assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is one of the coaches the Cardinals have already requested an interview with.
Flores spent the first four seasons in New England as a scouting assistant and pro scout, the same time Ossenfort was an area scout.
The two served on the Patriots’ staff for 13 years together and served at a Career Development Symposium as representatives for New England in 2018.
Ossenfort was hired after the 2020 NFL Draft and was a part of the team that brought in first-rounders Treylon Burks and Caleb Farley.
The Titans front office’s biggest decisions during Ossenfort’s tenure came as the team traded a second- and fourth-round pick in 2021 to the Atlanta Falcons for Julio Jones.
Additionally, the Titans traded wideout A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for the Nos. 18 and 101 overall picks in the 2022 draft.
Jones had 434 receiving yards in one season before going to Tampa Bay while Brown in Philadelphia has been a star, catching 88 balls for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Seven of the eight 2021 NFL Draft picks selected by Tennessee played for Titans in 2022. Adversely, Arizona had four players (Zaven Collins, Rondale Moore, Marco Wilson and Victor Dimukeje) play in 2022 out of 2021 draft.
Not only did Ossenfort and the front office find success in 2021 but also 2022.
The team found three starters that played in 15 or more games as a rookie.
CB Roger McCreary was taken in the 2nd round at No. 35 overall and started all 17 games. He was taken after Farley has struggled to stay healthy and on the field.
TE Chigoziem Okonkwo was taken in the fourth round at No. 143 overall and gaining a starting position later in year. The rookie led all first-year TEs in receiving yards (450) and made PFF’s All-Rookie team.
T Nicholas Petit-Frere was taken in the third round at No. 69 overall and started 16 games at tackle.
Burks played in 11 games and had an injury-riddled rookie campaign.