ARIZONA CARDINALS

Who’s still on the big board? Cardinals own 2nd pick of Round 2

Apr 28, 2023, 8:19 AM

Joey Porter junior...

Joey Porter Jr. #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates with fans after the game against the Auburn Tigers at Beaver Stadium on September 18, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals wheeled and dealt their way from the No. 3 pick to No. 12 to No. 6 overall in the first round on Thursday.

In doing so, Arizona nabbed Ohio State offensive lineman Parish Johnson Jr., an extra first-round pick in 2024 and a different-looking Friday.

The Cardinals entered the draft with picks 34, 66 and 96 in the second and third rounds. After the two trades to get the sixth pick and another deal with the Philadelphia Eagles over a tampering violation that cost them the 66th overall pick, they ended Thursday with picks 33, 81, 94 and 96.

 

The 33rd selection is the second of the second round, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, so the Cardinals will have their pick of players who slipped out of the first round.

Four players in the Green Room remained on the board: Kentucky QB Will Levis, Georgia Tech edge Keion White, Penn State CB Joey Porter Jr. and Alabama S Brian Branch.

Could the Cardinals trade back again, this time with a team looking to fill their QB room with Levis on the board?

Do one of those defenders fit what general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon have in mind?

CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

Picking Porter would start a trend of Ossenfort taking players whose fathers were Cardinals, as Joey Porter spent the last two seasons of his career with Arizona.

The Penn State corner was the No. 22 player on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s big board, No. 18 on The Athletic draft guru Dane Brugler’s list and No. 16 on The Ringer’s Danny Kelly’s rankings.

Porter is a tall, athletic corner at 6-foot-2, 193 pounds with 34-inch arms.

He ascended from Big Ten honorable mention in 2020 to the All-conference third team in 2021 and earned a spot on the AP All-American Second Team in 2022 with 11 passes defensed.

The Cardinals’ cornerback room consists of Marco Wilson, Antonio Hamilton, newcomer Rashad Fenton and 2022 seventh-rounder Christian Matthew.

Edge Keion White, Georgia Tech

White had 7.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss last season for the Yellow Jackets.

The 6-foot-5 pass rusher was Kiper’s No. 31 prospect and No. 28 on NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s board.

Jeremiah labeled White a twitchy edge with the frame of a defensive tackle.

The Cardinals used a pair of Day 2 picks last year on pass rushers Myjai Sanders and Cameron Thomas.

Zach Allen, Markus Golden and J.J. Watt are no longer on the roster, though, and that is a lot of juice off the defensive line.

S Brian Branch, Alabama

Branch was the top safety for Kiper, Brugler and Kelly entering the draft, and he offers versatility as a slot option, as well.

The 6-foot DB earned Second Team All-American honors in 2022 and was second on the Crimson Tide with 14 tackles for loss (90 overall).

The Cardinals have one of the top safety tandems in the NFL, but Budda Baker reportedly requested a trade this offseason.

TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

Mayer was a top 20 player for Jeremiah, Brugler and Kelly after a dominant 2022 in which he led Notre Dame with 67 catches and nine touchdown grabs.

He is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, comparable in size to Cardinals tight ends Zach Ertz and Trey McBride.

Arizona took McBride last year, but Ertz is coming off a season-ending knee injury and will turn 33 in November.

Also, Cardinals offensive coordinator Drew Petzing was previously a tight ends coach with the Browns.

Other top remaining tight ends include Georgia’s Darnell Washington and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave.

Edge BJ Ojulari, LSU

Ojulari, brother of 2021 second-rounder Azeez Ojulari, was a First Team All-SEC player in 2022 for the Tigers.

At 6-foot-2, 248 pounds, he has a different build than White, but several evaluators complimented his get-off and bend despite possessing less power.

Ojulari had 5.5 sacks as a junior last year.

OG Steve Avila, TCU

Could the Cardinals go all in on the offensive line?

Avila played center, right tackle, right guard and left guard at TCU, starting 15 games at left guard in 2022.

He thrived in the position as an All-American for the national championship-bound Horned Frogs, as he did not allow a sack.

Avila measured at 332 pounds at the combine, heavier than everyone on the Cardinals’ roster except guard Will Hernandez (335).

The Cardinals brought back Hernandez and RT Kelvin Beachum this offseason and drafted Johnson, but the offensive line still has questions with center Rodney Hudson retiring and LG Justin Pugh a free agent.

More names to watch:

  • WR Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
  • CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia
  • OL Joe Tippmann, Wisconsin
  • CB DJ Turner, Michigan

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