Football character at forefront of Cardinals’ thinking in Day 2 of NFL Draft

Apr 28, 2023, 10:03 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2023, 8:25 am

Monti Ossenfort NFL Draft...

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — Friday was another wild day of drafting for the Arizona Cardinals.

After an eventful Round 1 that saw two trades and the addition of Ohio State offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. with the sixth overall pick, first-year general manager Monti Ossenfort doubled down Friday night with even more moves and a trio of prospects.

After trading out of the 33rd overall pick in a deal with the Tennessee Titans that netted the Cardinals Nos. 41 and 72 this year and a 2024 third-rounder, Arizona used the first of those three selections to nab edge defender BJ Ojulari out of LSU.

The 72nd pick from the Titans trade, meanwhile, was used on Syracuse CB Garrett Williams before Arizona added Stanford WR Mike Wilson at No. 94.

Through two days of the NFL Draft, it’s a clean split between offensive and defensive players at two apiece.

For Ossenfort, Friday night’s theme focused largely on one thing: football character.

And you don’t have to look hard to find it, especially when talking about Ojulari and his prestigious No. 18 jersey that is handed out to a player that leads by example and who has great attention to detail and focus for the task at hand at LSU.

“It’s awarded by coaches and staff members to one player each year. Talented football player and even better person we’re anxious to add to the program,” Ossenfort said Friday night.

Williams showed immense football character during his visit with the Cardinals at the NFL Draft Combine.

Ossenfort summed up the cornerback with three words: “Mature, tough, dependable.”

And despite Williams still rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered this past October, his target month for a return is July.

Wilson, meanwhile, brings with him elite toughness and was a player scouts had targeted as someone Arizona needed to add to the program, according to Ossenfort.

All three picks were team captains in 2022 for their schools.

But the cherry on top of Day 2? That came from the final move of the night.

Garnering the No. 96 pick in the third round but without draft picks in Rounds 4 and 5, Ossenfort decided to make a deal one last time on Friday.

Shipping off the pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Nos. 122, 139 and 168, the Cardinals were able to get back into the fourth and fifth rounds.

“Just because of the way things fell, we had just got cleaned out there,” Ossenfort said. “It just allows us to be alive in the draft tomorrow and not have to sit and watch 60-something players come off the board before we pick again.

“That was more the motivation at that point rather than pushing one more thing to 2024.”

A look at Arizona’s current Day 3 picks:

Round 4: No. 122
Round 5: No. 139
Round 5: No. 168
Round 6: No. 180
Round 6: No. 213

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