Cardinals’ Monti Ossenfort saw less drama, more talent this NFL Draft

Jun 12, 2024, 10:19 AM | Updated: 11:36 am

Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort didn’t quite have the same first-round theatrics in his second NFL Draft at the helm.

Instead of trading the No. 4 pick to the highest bidder, Ossenfort decided to stick and pick No. 1 wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

The boring and less hectic move appears to be the right one, with Harrison coming in “as advertised,” Ossenfort told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday.

The journey to Arizona’s No. 27 overall pick and defensive lineman Darius Robinson was anything but, made evident on the season premiere of Cardinals Flight Plan.

“That was an exciting time. The draft, it always comes down to a numbers game,” Ossenfort said. “There’s guys that you hope make it to a certain point and when people start coming off the board, you got to start doing the numbers game, the Calculus.

“How far can we get up? What’s that cost going to be? Does it make sense? What are we giving up to go get him? We were on the clock there and having some discussions with Dallas in particular, which the episode showed. A deal didn’t come together and that ended up being OK. We got a guy that we really wanted and targeted and we kept the pick that we were going to use to get up there.”

From Nos. 21 on, the intensity ratcheted up for Ossenfort and Co., understanding they needed a few picks to go their way for the chance to stick and pick Robinson.

That didn’t stop Ossenfort from leaving his options open with trade calls to potential teams, though. At one point, he offered up Nos. 27 and 104 to the Dallas Cowboys for Nos. 24 and 174 in an effort to leapfrog the Packers armed with what Arizona’s pro scouts had gathered on Green Bay’s needs.

“I think just going into the week we try to forecast what guys are going to be there and what guys we would be comfortable taking in there,” Ossenfort said. “And then we rely on our pro scouts who do a lot of work on what other teams might need. Those picks on either side of us, the few leading in and the few on the other side of us.

“We try to predict who’s going to take who. At some point, there’s teams you’re worried about. … We take a look at that and put that time in and luckily it worked out for us that night.”

Despite not making the deal with Dallas, the board fell the way Ossenfort wanted, with Robinson there at No. 27. As for the other pick that was a part of that prospective deal? That turned into safety Dadrion “Rabbit” Taylor-Demerson.

The recent influx of rookies plus free agent additions Sean Murphy-Bunting, Justin Jones and Mack Wilson Sr., has undoubtedly raised the talent level within the Tempe training facility.

“I think we’ve added a lot of good football players and I think we’ve added competition on both sides of the ball,” Ossenfort said. “Whether it’s the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side of the ball, I believe we’ve improved. I believe we’ve raised the talent level of our team and there’s going to be legitimate battles for roster spots this year. That’s a good problem. It’s a good problem to have to make tough decisions.

“My expectations for this team are no different from last year: Go in, compete and be competitive to win every single game we go into. I think we were close to doing that last year. … Now, there’s another step to take. It’s one thing to be competitive in those games. And now it’s another to take a step and close some of those games out.”

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