Arizona Cardinals select Rutgers CB Max Melton with No. 43 pick in 2024 NFL Draft

Apr 26, 2024, 5:10 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm

Rutgers cornerback Max Melton celebrates...

Defensive back Max Melton #16 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrates his interception against the Northwestern Wildcats during the second quarter of a college football game at SHI Stadium on September 3, 2023 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals took Rutgers cornerback Max Melton with the No. 43 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

“I’m at a loss for thoughts. I’m just so happy, I’m so proud to finally be in the NFL, something I worked for my whole life,” Melton said via conference call on Friday.

“I had a 30 visit with the Cardinals. It was a great visit. 10 out of 10. Great people, a great scheme, a great head coach. I just met everybody and it really felt like home. I got the feeling it was vice versa and sure enough I’m here.”

Melton spent the past four seasons at Rutgers, recording 111 tackles, eight interceptions, 22 passes defensed and four fumble recoveries across 41 games played.

In his final year at the school, he tied a career high for picks with three and registered his only sack at the college ranks. He also logged four tackles for loss.

“I’m a lockdown corner,” Melton said. “I ran a (4.39-second 40-yard dash), I jump out the gym, I jump far and I’m a real athlete. I can play inside and outside with versatility.

“I’m a willing special teams player. I just don’t go out there and play special teams to play it. It’s all football to me. I like to look at it as 33% of the game, so I’m going to treat it like 33% of the game.”

Cornerback was another position that had to be addressed this offseason, especially after the defense finished 31st in the league in opposing passer rating (102.9) and 30th in receiving touchdowns allowed (32).

With Antonio Hamilton hitting free agency, Arizona went out and upgraded the position with veteran free agent addition Sean Murphy-Bunting to throw alongside the trio of second-year pros Garrett Williams, Starling Thomas V and Kei’Trel Clark.

Murphy-Bunting figures to be a prime candidate for a starting role in coordinator Nick Rallis’ defense.

Each of the three youngsters flashed as rookies, with Williams taking over nickel corner after returning from a torn ACL suffered the year prior. Thomas and Clark both operated on the outside when on the field.

Who else have the Arizona Cardinals picked in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Before the Cardinals nabbed Melton, Arizona went out and added a pair of potential game changers in wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 4 overall and defensive lineman Darius Robinson at No. 27 overall.

Harrison gives quarterback Kyler Murray the WR1 he’s been looking for, while Robinson adds more versatility to Arizona’s defensive line rotation.

Arizona then turned around and dealt Nos. 35 and 186 to the Atlanta Falcons for Nos. 43 and 79.

Where else are the Cardinals picking this NFL Draft?

Arizona’s remaining picks are as follows:

– Round 3, pick No. 66 overall
– Round 3, pick No. 71 overall (from Tennessee Titans)
– Round 3, pick No. 79 overall (from Atlanta Falcons)
– Round 3, pick No. 90 overall (from Houston Texans)
– Round 4, pick No. 104 overall
– Round 5, pick No. 138 overall
– Round 5, pick No. 162 overall (from Houston Texans)
– Round 7, pick No. 226 overall (from New York Giants)

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