Cardinals take Auburn LB Owen Pappoe with No. 168 pick in NFL Draft
Apr 29, 2023, 12:27 PM | Updated: 5:26 pm
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
The Arizona Cardinals selected Auburn inside linebacker Owen Pappoe with the No. 168 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
He marks the second fifth-rounder taken on Day 3 by the Cardinals following the selection of quarterback Clayton Tune out of Houston.
The 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker is coming off a 2022 season at Auburn where he recorded two sacks, 91 tackles, three of which were for losses and three passes defensed. He played a majority of his snaps at inside linebacker, but also moved around between outside backer and slot corner last year, per Pro Football Focus.
What the @AZCardinals are getting in @TheFreak ↓
💨 4.39 40 (1st among LBs)
💪 29 bench reps (1st among LBs)
⚡️ 1.52 10-yd split (1st among LBs)
💥 89 LB athleticism score (Tied-1st) pic.twitter.com/FNEPM289iw
— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) April 29, 2023
He followed his senior season up with an impressive NFL Draft Combine showing that saw him run a 4.39 40-yard dash and post a 35.5-inch vertical.
Pappoe, 22, expects to slot in as a weakside linebacker in the Cardinals defense. He joins a room that includes Zaven Collins, Kyzir White and Isaiah Simmons.
The linebacker marks the third player drafted by the Cardinals on Day 3 after adding UCLA OL Jon Gaines (No. 122) and Tune (No. 139).
It’s been an eventful draft to say the least for first-year general manager Monti Ossenfort, who pulled off a pair of trades during the first round on Thursday night, nabbing Johnson and additional draft capital along the way.
Ossenfort started his wheeling and dealing in a trade with the Houston Texans that saw Arizona send out pick Nos. 3 and 105 in exchange for Nos. 12 and 33 on top of a 2024 first- and third-rounder.
From there, Ossenfort got on the phone with the Detroit Lions, who sent Nos. 6 and 81 to the Cardinals for pick Nos. 12, 34 and 168.
He wasn’t done, either, dealing pick Nos. 33 and 81 on Friday in exchange for Nos. 41 and 72 in addition to a 2024 third-rounder. Arizona used the 41st pick on LSU edge defender BJ Ojulari and the 72nd pick on Syracuse CB Garrett Williams.
Then came Ossenfort’s final move of Day 2, a deal with the Tennessee Titans that returned Nos. 122, 139 — which was used on Tune — and 168 for No. 96.
There was, however, another trade facilitated by the Cardinals this draft, albeit for a different reason.
Moments before the draft began, the Cardinals and Eagles settled a tampering investigation involving the recruitment of former Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon as Arizona’s new head coach, the teams announced. The deal centered around the Cardinals agreeing to swap third-round picks (Arizona’s No. 66 and Philadelphia’s No. 94) in 2023. The Cardinals also received the Eagles’ fifth-round selection in 2024.
With the swapped No. 94 pick, Arizona turned around and added Stanford wide receiver Mike Wilson.