Arizona Cardinals rank last in ESPN’s future talent power rankings
Jul 23, 2023, 7:07 AM
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
The Arizona Cardinals have been looked down upon heading into the 2023 season due to what many analysts are calling a lack of talent.
ESPN’s staff writers took a stab at the NFL’s future and gave power rankings for each team. The metrics were graded on five categories: overall roster (minus QB), quarterback, coaching, draft and front office.
Out of 32 teams, the Cardinals ranked Nos. 32, 25, 29, 10 and 27, respectively, to land at No. 32 overall.
This is due to a large number of unknowns surrounding the team, including Kyler Murray’s timetable for return from injury, Jonathan Gannon’s first-ever season as a head coach and the talent lost from last year (J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, Byron Murphy and Zach Allen) on a team that finished with the No. 3 overall pick with a 4-13 record.
Reason for hope: A new coaching staff, with Jonathan Gannon coming over from Philadelphia, offers a glimmer of hope. The Cardinals also have two picks in the first round and six in the first three rounds of next year’s draft. And whenever he’s healthy again, Kyler Murray brings a lot of upside at quarterback. — Dan Graziano
Reason for concern: Murray is coming off a torn ACL, and he is now dealing with a depleted roster. Furthermore, he is going to be working with a first-time offensive coordinator in Drew Petzing under a first-time head coach in Gannon. — Louis Riddick
ESPN adds that although the Cardinals are ranked last in their rankings, it may be slightly too low due to the fact they hold the two best chances, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, to land the No. 1 overall pick with the Houston Texans’ first-round selection as well.
Arizona has a combined 31% chance to land the No. 1 pick and a 5% chance to land Nos. 1 and 2.
Although the Cardinals have struggled in previous drafts under Steve Keim, ESPN giving new general manager Monti Ossenfort the 10th best overall draft in his first year at the helm is a breath of fresh air for those in the Valley.
Much of how the Cardinals play will rely on when Murray returns and how effective he is. After an All-Pro selection in his rookie year and two Pro Bowl appearances in his next two seasons, Murray struggled with 14 touchdowns to seven interceptions in 11 games.
He averaged 215.3 passing yards per game (a 17.3 YPG difference from his next lowest season) and 9.1 yards per carry (1.5 YPC less than his next lowest season) to go along with a 51.5 QBR (6.2 less than his rookie year).
So with highly touted quarterback prospect Caleb Williams looming at USC, Murray’s season could dictate the direction Arizona heads with its future draft capital.
Another name Arizona has been linked to at the top of 2024 NFL Draft projections is Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., son of Indianapolis Colts legend Marvin Harrison, who could be a potential target to replace Hopkins in one year’s time.
Despite ESPN’s bleak outlook in 2023, the talent pool in Arizona may not be far from skyrocketing up talent boards.