ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals receive C-plus grade for performance in 2023 NFL Draft by The Athletic’s Diante Lee

Apr 6, 2024, 2:00 PM

(L-R) Paris Johnson Jr. poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected sixth overal...

(L-R) Paris Johnson Jr. poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected sixth overall by the Arizona Cardinals during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station on April 27, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals received a C+ grade from The Athletic’s Diante Lee in his re-grading of all 32 NFL teams’ performance in the 2023 NFL Draft. Lee put the Cardinals into the “Small short-term gains, high long-term potential” category.

Paris Johnson Jr. (No. 6) was the big get in Arizona’s 2023 class. He played consistently enough that the franchise feels confident moving him to left tackle. Edge rusher BJ Ojulari (No. 41) is still developing his NFL body, so setting the edge in the run game is tricky, but he provided some flashes as a speed rusher.

The play of Garrett Williams (No. 72) as a slot/safety hybrid allowed Arizona to mix up its coverage looks, and Michael Wilson (No. 94) is a sure-handed outside receiver.

After Arizona traded down and then up to land with the No. 6 pick, Johnson Jr. started all 17 games and never missed a snap at right tackle as a rookie.

He allowed eight sacks the entire season, according to Pro Football Focus, and is projected to make the move to left tackle after the Cardinals releasing long-time left tackle D.J Humphries midway through March.

Ojulari was the 41st overall pick in the 2023 draft out of LSU and totaled four sacks in his first season in Arizona. After a slow start due to a knee issue, he ended his rookie season tied for second-most sacks on the team.

Williams is one of three Cardinals cornerbacks coming off their rookie seasons. He started six games in 2023 after a late start because of a torn ACL he suffered while at Syracuse.

Wilson had a late-season surge for the Cardinals. In the final two games of the 2023 season, he totaled 130 yards and a touchdown. Wilson is likely to take a bigger share of the offense next season as the No. 1 wide receiver position is open for someone to step in, with Wilson potentially competing with a 2024 top draft choice.

Marquise Brown, who was the Cardinals’ No. 1 option at wide receiver last season, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs on March 14. Brown tallied 574 yards and four touchdowns last season before departing Arizona.

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