ARIZONA FOOTBALL

ESPN’s Miller predicts pair of Wildcats drafted in first round of 2025 NFL Draft

Jul 5, 2024, 11:33 AM

Arizona Wildcats receiver Tetairoa McMilla...

NFL training camps may only be on the horizon, but ESPN’s Matt Miller has already begun looking ahead to the 2025 NFL Draft.

Like years prior, Miller has used the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) to determine the draft order and predict how the season will ultimately go.

With that, the FPI projects a 21.9% chance that the New England Patriots will earn the No. 1 pick and a 20.8% chance the Carolina Panthers will claim it, making them the No. 1 and No. 2 picks according to the simulator.

According to the FPI, the Arizona Cardinals have a 3.5% chance to earn the No. 1 pick, but a 50.5% chance to earn a top-10 pick. He also has two Arizona Wildcats getting selected in the first round, a testament to the foundation the program has built in the last couple of years.

Here’s Miller’s prediction on where the Wildcats duo will land and what the Cardinals plan to do with their first-round pick.

Where will this pair of Wildcats end up?

While it may have one of the league’s best receiving corps, the Seattle Seahawks might look to add another as their current unit is seemingly poised for a breakup, according to Miller.

That’s where Tetairoa McMillan comes in, a sneaky No. 1 receiver in the eyes of Miller. McMillian is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound unit who will bring a surreal amount of talent to whatever team he lands with.

He caught 90 passes for 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns last season and is poised for another great season with quarterback Noah Fifita returning to Arizona.

Another Wildcat that Miller predicts will be taken in the first round is guard Jonah Savaiinaea, who he believes will go to the Houston Texans at No. 23.

He’s a 6-foot-5, 330-pounder who locked down the right side for Arizona last season. His presence would improve Houston’s offensive line that finished 25th in the NFL in run block win rate (69.5%) last season.

The Texans’ roster is very good, but the interior of both lines could still use work. Why not bring in one of the best right tackles in college football and kick him inside — a move scouts believe will push Savaiinaea into the first-round conversation — to help protect C.J. Stroud?

The Arizona Wildcats are currently projected to be one of the top teams in the Big 12 this season, and these two stars play a part in the team’s recent success.

What will the Arizona Cardinals do with their first-round draft pick?

Miller is very high on two quarterbacks — Georgia’s Carson Beck and Colorado’s Sheduer Sanders — and has them getting selected No. 1 and No. 2 in the draft.

The FPI predicts that Arizona will earn the No. 9 pick and select Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter, who plays both wide receiver and cornerback.

Hunter logged 984 snaps last season, including 412 on offense and 572 on defense, and proved to be an all-around playmaker as he helped put Colorado on the map early on in the season.

He became an early Heisman candidate when he recorded 57 receptions and five touchdowns over nine games, adding three interceptions and seven pass breakups on defense.

Miller believes that the Cardinals may turn to the “best player available” approach at No. 9, and that Hunter fits the description.

Arizona is building a solid foundation, and the front office could realistically turn to a “best player available” approach next April … There will be a debate about which side of the ball makes more sense for Hunter in the pros, but he is a throwback do-it-all football player the Cardinals could deploy in a number of roles.

Hunter is in contention for the draft’s top spot in both positions, and as the Cardinals continue to rebuild, the two-way phenom would most certainly be beneficial addition.

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