Cardinals’ haul of future draft picks in 2024 not to be overlooked

May 1, 2023, 10:40 AM | Updated: 2:02 pm

GM Monti Ossenfort, Arizona Cardinals, 2023 NFL Draft Combine...

General manager Monti Ossenfort of the Arizona Cardinals speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on February 28, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals were a busy bunch during the 2023 NFL Draft.

They selected nine rookies through it all, headlined by No. 6 pick and offensive lineman Paris Johnson.

But not to be forgotten amid the new additions are the future assets first-year Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort picked up along the way.

Orchestrating four trades throughout the first two days of the draft — all with former employers — Ossenfort acquired an additional first- and third-rounder from the Houston Texans and a third-round pick from the Tennessee Titans.

Following the draft, the Cardinals are expected to have 11 picks in 2024.

And given where all the Cardinals, Texans and Titans currently stand, those three extra picks could go a long way in Arizona. Per Tankathon’s 2024 mock draft, the Cardinals are projected to hold the first overall pick with their own selection and the second pick via the Texans.

It’s not hard to see why.

The Cardinals are amid a rebuild with an unknown timeline for a return of quarterback Kyler Murray in addition to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and safety Budda Baker requesting trades. The Texans and Titans on the other hand could see a pair of rookies lead their respective teams at some point or another next season and have other roster questions that need answering.

NBC Sports’ Peter King was among those who felt Ossenfort nailed his first draft thanks to the 2024 draft capital the team walked away with.

If Arizona, Houston and Tennessee all struggle next year and all finish below .500, the Cardinals would have six picks in the top 75, including two early in the first round. Ossenfort may not have gone into this draft with an intention of owning the 2024 draft, but that’s exactly how it turned out.

Of the deals Arizona made during the draft, the pair of first-round trades were the most beneficial for the Cardinals’ present and future teams.

Without the first one, though, and Arizona’s draft could have looked a whole lot different.

Receiving the Nos. 12 and 33 picks and a 2024 first- and third-rounder in the trade with the Texans, the Cardinals not only got additional assets for next year, they now had capital to spend to move back up the draft.

That’s just what they did, shooting back up the draft board at No. 6 overall to nab Johnson following a deal with the Lions that saw Arizona send the Nos. 12, 34 and 168 picks to Detroit. The Cardinals also received the 81st overall pick.

It was an important trade for Ossenfort to make given the interest Johnson had from the Raiders, another team that discussed first-round trade options with the Cardinals, according to King.

Ossenfort told me Saturday night he didn’t go into the draft with a plan to deal for so much 2024 draft currency—that’s just the way the trades fell. He did admit he made the first deal with Houston with the idea of trading back up. “It was important with that first trade to retain the option to move back up,” he said. And that, of course, was for Ohio State tackle Paris Johnson, the best tackle in the draft. The Cardinals got him at six, just ahead of the Raiders, who may have taken Johnson at seven.

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