Cardinals take receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. in new ESPN mock draft roundtable
Nov 26, 2023, 6:55 AM
The Arizona Cardinals have won their way out of a top-two spot in the 2024 NFL Draft. For now, at least.
That’s OK, because the consensus top-two projected to go in many mock drafts are two quarterbacks: USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye. The Cardinals are currently auditioning a potential franchise quarterback already, so the need to draft one isn’t as pressing as it may be for other teams such as the New York Giants or New England Patriots.
Instead, an ESPN model — FPI projections through week 10 — listed Arizona at third overall in a new mock draft, which served as a roundtable debating the top 10 picks.
Analysts Matt Miller, Jordan Reid and Field Yates mulled over potential choices throughout the mock, but there was only one choice to make for Arizona: Marvin Harrison Jr., a 6-foot-4 205-pound receiver from Ohio State.
Yates: “… Beyond filling a need, we’re talking about a rare prospect. Harrison has a 6-foot-4 frame, runs buttery smooth routes and displays stick ’em hands. There are no holes in his game, and no player has a clearer chance of developing into a Pro Bowler in this class than him.”
Reid: “I can’t say enough positive things about Harrison. He’s a big receiver … but has the movement skills of a small wideout. His ability to sink his hips and redirect allows him to run every branch in the route tree, and he can make catches outside his frame with ease. … Simply put, Harrison is special and one of the best receiver prospects that we have seen this century. I would be shocked if he isn’t the first non-QB selected.”
Miller: “Harrison is definitely the pick. We’re talking about an all-world receiver prospect with the traits to be great at the next level. I see a smoother version of A.J. Green.”
If the Cardinals, or any team for that matter, select Harrison as high as third, he would become just the third receiver (Braylon Edwards, 2005; and Calvin Johnson, 2007) since Larry Fitzgerald in 2004 to be drafted in the top three.
But because Kyler Murray wasn’t a Monti Ossenfort draft pick — and a bit because of his lackluster Week 11 performance vs. Houston — quarterback may still be a consideration for the Cardinals come April. ESPN’s panel suggested Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders in that case with the caveat that Sanders may hold off on the NFL for another year.
Miller added that trading Murray would count $46.2 million against the cap in 2024, which wouldn’t be ideal for Arizona.
Much more ideal would be pairing the big-money quarterback with an all-time level receiving prospect, who’s on track to finish the season as a Heisman finalist for a College Football Playoff team.