Cardinals Corner: Best- and worst-case scenarios for Cardinals’ NFL Draft

Apr 24, 2024, 5:30 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2024, 11:11 am

The 2024 NFL Draft is upon us with the first round. Armed with two first-round picks, there are numerous ways the Arizona Cardinals can navigate the draft board on Day 1.

Either way, general manager Monti Ossenfort will exit Thursday armed with blue-chip talent and/or additional draft capital.

But of the avenues Ossenfort and Co. could traverse in Round 1, what are the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Cardinals?

Arizona Sports’ Cardinals reporter Tyler Drake and do-it-all contributor Lauren Koval answer that very question on the latest episode of the Cardinals Corner podcast:

Arizona Cardinals best-case scenario in 1st round of NFL Draft

Koval: Best case for the first round I think is you end up with one of the three top wide receivers, but you get one of them by trading out of No. 4 and moving down in the range of about 8-11 to end up with one of the three of them. I’m not sold that it has to be Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. I do want Washington’s Rome Odunze, LSU’s Malik Nabers or Harrison Jr.

And then with the 27th overall pick, I would love to see them get Florida State’s Jared Verse, an edge rusher who adds a little bit of oomph to a position of need for the Cardinals.

Drake: For me, it comes down to the simple fact of don’t get cute. Stay at No. 4 and make Harrison a Cardinal, make a lot of Cardinals fans happy, make a lot more people maybe start taking notes on the Cardinals more than they were a year prior. You don’t worry about the potential of trading out and then not being able to come back up at some point. Just make it simple. It’s the easiest decision to make and I think it’s the best decision to make for them right now. Wide receiver is the No. 1 need, at the top of the list. They’ve got to address it with one of these top three guys. They can’t mess around and miss out.

And I think the way they need to attack the second first-round pick is to package it up with some later picks, come back up and get somebody big. Go get Alabama’s Dallas Turner or Terrion Arnold. Chop Robinson is shifting up and down the board a bit, but if you’ve got to come up and grab him, go make sure you get that guy. Make sure you leave this first round with two cornerstones. This is the best way to do it.

Arizona Cardinals worst-case scenario in 1st round of NFL Draft

Koval: The worst-case scenario is if the Cardinals trade out of No. 4 and can’t trade back in to get a top-three wide receiver. Now they’ve moved too far out. Nobody will trade up with them, so they miss out on one of the wideouts and also you miss out on Notre Dame’s Joe Alt and also Turner. I think if those five are gone by the time you pick, you’ve already screwed up the draft in my eyes.

You got too cute, you got too fancy, you tried to do too much and you really missed. If they miss the first pick and can’t get back up there, at No. 27, I’m just going to be too frustrated. Take whomever you want.

Drake: You hit the nail on the head there. Once you start playing the game of trying to come down and the board shakes out like other teams might not have seen it or even wanted it to go, you might not have another partner to trade back up and you’re stuck there.

Yes, you might have extra draft capital for later on in this draft or 2025 but owner Michael Bidwill joined KTAR’s Amazing Arizonans recently and said “we’re aligned to get this thing right” in 2024. There’s a little bit of extra juice there that I didn’t really expect to see coming into Year 2 of this new regime. Four wins wasn’t good enough. The culture and foundation are set but they’ve got to perform this year. The best way to do that is coming away with players.

The Cardinals have 11 picks this draft. There’s no way I can see them bringing in 11 rookies. They’ve got to move some of these picks around to get talent, not future picks. If they trade down and get extra picks but don’t come away with a blue-chip player like an Odunze, like a Nabers, like an Alt, like an Arnold, like a Turner, it’s not going to be the same look everybody had of Monti in Year 1.

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