Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort mum on trio of top draft prospects

Feb 28, 2023, 12:52 PM
Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort speaks during a news conference at the NFL footba...

Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

After hiring Jonathan Gannon as the Arizona Cardinals’ next head coach this offseason, new general manager Monti Ossenfort has another big decision looming ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Garnering the No. 3 pick in April’s draft, there’s a real shot at landing a franchise cornerstone the new Cardinals regime can build around. There is also the notion Arizona could trade down and pick up future assets to utilize in its rebuild.

Of the prospects linked to the Cardinals this offseason, Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr., Georgia’s Jalen Carter and to a lesser extent Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson have been the leaders in the clubhouse.

While Ossenfort won’t get to see Carter or Wilson work out until their respective pro days, Ossenfort and the Cardinals can still meet with the duo and conduct physicals. Anderson plans to do some drills in addition to the off-the-field aspect the other two are taking part in.

“Probably not going to get into too many specifics, but those are three players that I have studied and will continue to study and anxious to meet with them and do more work with them this week,” Ossenfort said. “Those are three talented players and they all bring different skillsets and they’ve had good college careers.

“We’re excited to dive more into them and see exactly how they would fit for our team moving forward.”

And while the combine is used to get a better look at the top prospects around the country, the annual event also provides Ossenfort with the added opportunity of talking shop with fellow NFL GMs.

Of the six teams directly behind the Cardinals in draft order, five — Indianapolis, Seattle, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Carolina — are in need of a QB and could be inclined to make a move up the draft board if the price is right. Tennessee, the New York Jets and Washington hold later first-round picks but are also in the market for a signal caller.

What the Cardinals do with the No. 3 pick could largely hang on what the Chicago Bears do with the first overall pick in the draft. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that Chicago was leaning toward trading down and have received interest from multiple teams.

“It’s a position that I hope we’re not in too many more years,” Ossenfort told reporters during the NFL Draft Combine on Tuesday. “We’ll be prepared to pick a player at No. 3 and also our phones will be open and I’m open to hearing any conversation about anybody that’s willing to come up. I think with that No. 3 pick, it’s an opportunity to add a player and it’s an opportunity to potentially get some calls on that pick.

“Ultimately, we’ll make the best decision for us at the time. Unfortunately, when we lose those games, it presents that No. 3 pick and one we don’t want to be in again, but we’ll deal with it and it presents a good opportunity for us.”

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