ARIZONA CARDINALS

This NFL mock draft has Cardinals taking Marvin Harrison Jr. to break up run of QBs

Dec 12, 2023, 10:24 AM

Jayden Daniels, Marvin Harrison Jr., Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr....

Heisman Trophy finalists, from left, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. pose with the trophy after attending a news conference before the award ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

A day after North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye announced his departure for the 2024 NFL Draft, ESPN’s Matt Miller fueled more curiosity from the Arizona Cardinals-nuanced perspective with his latest mock draft.

Miller sees three quarterbacks go in the first four picks, with Arizona refusing the temptation of greener signal-caller pastures by taking Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. at the No. 3 pick.

Here’s Miller’s quick pitch on Harrison landing as Kyler Murray’s No. 1 target in Arizona.

I believe the Cardinals will make the right decision here to build around quarterback Kyler Murray and draft an elite receiver prospect to be his running mate, rather than make a change under center. Murray has played well since returning from a torn ACL, and the Cards have receivers Marquise Brown and Greg Dortch both on expiring deals.

Harrison is a magician at 6-foot-4 with fantastic body control and the fastest hands of any receiver in the draft class. He has the smooth and effortless route running ability — plus the top-tier body control — to quickly become one of the best players at the position in the NFL. He’d be the 10th receiver to ever get picked this high, per ESPN Stats & Information research.

Going first overall to the Chicago Bears via the Carolina Panthers’ pick in Miller’s mock draft is USC quarterback Caleb Williams followed by Maye at No. 2 to the New England Patriots.

After the Cardinals’ third overall pick, Miller has the 5-8 New York Giants selecting LSU’s Heisman winner and former Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels. His rising stock adds to the quarterback conversation, even if Miller might be reaching a tad.

Is this too early for Daniels, even after his brilliant Heisman-winning 2023 season? Maybe, but teams will overdraft at quarterback in an effort to find the right player, and Daniels’ dual-threat ability and vertical passing traits are very intriguing. His 50 total touchdowns this season make him a first-round candidate, but it’s Daniels’ improvement in the pocket and the best deep ball in college football that will truly turn heads come draft time.

The Giants are invested financially in Daniel Jones, but his play simply hasn’t been good enough, and New York can move on via a trade.

New England and Arizona have the same 3-10 record at this point, and there is room for those teams and others to maneuver before pick order is decided at the end of 2023.

The fact that there are three top-four quarterbacks on Miller’s board — and four in the top-10 if you include Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy — means there very well could be trade interest with the Cardinals’ pick.

A greedy optimist for Arizona hopes a quarterback-needy team behind the Cardinals in the order is calling general manager Monti Ossenfort, offering a hefty price and a pick that the Cardinals could use to still land one of the best receiver prospects in some time.

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This NFL mock draft has Cardinals taking Marvin Harrison Jr. to break up run of QBs