Monti Ossenfort can make 1st big mark as Cardinals GM with strong draft

Apr 21, 2023, 3:45 PM

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort speaks with reporters on Friday, April 21, 2023, in Tempe (Tyl...

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort speaks with reporters on Friday, April 21, 2023, in Tempe (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — Becoming a general manager of an NFL team was always a dream of Monti Ossenfort’s.

It is a position he has strived for throughout the course of numerous stops around the league that have influenced Ossenfort one way or another.

So far, he’s really only gotten his feet wet in the free-agency pool.

But where he can really make his first real mark on the franchise sits less than a week away.

Arizona has stayed away from the big free agent signings to the chagrin of more than a few.

With the No. 3 pick, though, the Cardinals are set to make some kind of noise regardless of what happens come draft night.

Now, if that noise is a low roar or a front-row seat at a rock concert all comes down to how Ossenfort operates with the draft controls in his hand.

“We’re trying to get as many good players and good people on this team as possible,” Ossenfort said Friday. “This is a big opportunity to add talent to our team, to add the right type of people who fit our team from both a talent and a culture standpoint. This is a major step in the league year of the opportunity to add those players.”

Despite an offseason filled with pro days, top-30 visits and the NFL Draft Combine, draft prep for Ossenfort and Co. really kicks into that next gear during the final week leading up to the event.

As of Friday, the Cardinals’ board is about 95% complete. Now, it’s onto working through different scenarios and taking a peek at mock drafts from around the league to get a better idea of who is thinking what.

Luckily for Ossenfort, new head coach Jonathan Gannon is in near unison with his GM when it comes down to how they view the prospect pool and other aspects of the organization.

“I’m not surprised at all. I think working with JG these last couple months, we see things similarly from a football standpoint and more importantly from a person standpoint,” Ossenfort said. “Those are the two big things that we’re trying to evaluate.”

“Out of the 10 guys (we liked the most this draft), we had eight of the same,” Gannon added Thursday night. “I think we’re in lockstep and excited to go for Thursday.”

Just as important as completing the draft board is listening to what other teams have to offer on the trade front.

Arizona has had discussions with teams regarding the third overall pick ever since the combine. Those talks have only increased and are expected to pick up even more this week as quarterback-needy teams start to feel the heat.

The race to nab a potential franchise-changing talent under center could yield some valuable assets for Ossenfort and the Cardinals, with at least four QB prospects expected to go early in the first round.

One will for sure be there at third overall, putting Arizona in a prime spot to pick up valuable assets and still land a potential game changer in the first round via trade.

For Ossenfort, it’s all about the give-and-take of it all.

“It takes two teams to make a trade. That’s the first thing,” Ossenfort said. “If the phone does ring and someone shows interest, then we’re going to have to weigh that.

“Is there a player there that we want to take there? There obviously is, there’s only going to be two players that are going to be drafted ahead of where we pick. We have to weigh that versus if there is an offer and what exactly that offer is. Those talks will really start progressing next week.”

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Monti Ossenfort can make 1st big mark as Cardinals GM with strong draft