The Philadelphia Eagles were considered to be the winners of the 2023 NFL Draft, with reports even claiming that general managers around the league were upset over all the plaudits GM Howie Roseman received as a result of his shrewd operations.
But it appears the Arizona Cardinals have already won the 2024 NFL Draft and it will be interesting to see how they go about their business in a year’s time.
It was no secret that the Cards were looking to trade their third overall pick ahead of the draft and they did exactly that, letting the Houston Texans have at it so they could select Alabama quarterback C.J. Stroud right after picking pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. from Ohio State. The trade set them back nine slots but they traded up from No. 12 to No. 6 to draft Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
The trade with the Texans got Arizona Houston’s 2023 second-rounder, which they later traded to the Tennessee Titans, who ended up drafting Kentucky QB Will Levis after he surprisingly slipped out of the first round despite being tipped to go top five. The Houston trade also saw the Cards acquire the former’s first and third-round picks for 2024.
So Arizona now has two first-round picks in next year’s draft, as well as a second-round pick plus another three in the third round. Apart from their third-rounder from the Texans deal, they’ve also gotten third-round rights from the Titans.
As things stand, the Cardinals boast some enviable draft capital as they have six picks in the first three rounds. And their GM could be the one drawing ire at the end of the affair.
Let’s talk about the Cardinals. They’re sitting right at the bottom of the pile, with +20000 odds to win the Super Bowl next year. And guess what? The Texans are in the same boat, also at +20000. Meanwhile, the Titans aren’t doing much better, with +8000 odds, making them the fourth-longest shot. There will be some interesting promos from Arizona sportsbooks available before the 2023 season kicks off. If you rely on the odds. it’s probably wise to steer clear of all three of these teams. But hold onto your hats because here’s the kicker: the Cards seem to be gearing up for a remarkable draft period in 2024.
They just might have two of the top five picks in the first round, plus a premium second-rounder.
With all of the talent already part of next year’s class, the Cardinals could have their way in the first three rounds. That is assuming that they, or one or both of the Texans and Titans, do not rise above expectations.
There’s also the possibility of them underachieving but other teams doing worse.
Such circumstances would shift the draft order, though it wouldn’t change the fact that the Cards will have two picks in the first round. That should be satisfactory enough for any GM, especially considering that they might be No. 1 and No. 2.
Mock drafts have already tipped them to add quarterback Caleb Williams from USC and Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.
This begs the question, what about Kyler Murray?
Current star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins should be long gone by then. Plus he’ll be 32 by next June. The wideout was the subject of trade rumors earlier this year. However, it appears that there’s been a change of heart on that front as credible sources reported the Cards were looking to move on from him ahead of the draft.
Murray might be heading into a make-or-break season, though he signed a five-year deal last year and is locked in until 2027. While the former Oklahoma Sooners star is considered to be one of the best signal-callers in the NFL, he has failed to deliver in terms of playoff progression and Super Bowl contention and could possibly find himself on the trading block should he fail to show improvement next term.
Of course, he’s going to have to return to playing too as he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 14 of last season, tearing his ACL.
There was never any chance of the Cardinals drafting a quarterback in 2023, which is why their No.3 overall pick was up for grabs in April, but the situation could be a different one next year.
Whatever the case may be, Arizona is headed into the 2024 NFL Draft as the most intriguing franchise – that is unless things change.