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The future of Steve Keim’s draft picks within the MOJO administration

The former Cardinals’ GM’s picks could be in trouble

Syndication: Arizona Republic Mingson Lau/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

After the Cardinals first preseason game of the Monti Ossenfort and Jonathan Gannon administration, it became somewhat apparent that a fair number of former Arizona GM Steve Keim’s former draft picks could be in a heap of trouble as far as continuing their employment with the team.

Categories for each player:

  • Promising
  • Promising/uncertain — good for this year but uncertain beyond.
  • Uncertain
  • Uncertain/doubtful
  • Doubtful

Here is a look at Steve Kiesm’s remaining draft picks by position:


While while it appears that Kyler Murray has earned high praise from the coaching staff regarding his rehab, one of the great questions of this season is whether Kyler can return to action and, if and when so, garner the coaches’ confidence moving forward. The hope is that Kyler will do whatever it takes for him to remain the team’s trusted QB1 one for years to come. However, if the Cardinals are in a position in 2024 to select USC quarterback Caleb Williams or North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, Kyler Murray could become the subject of heated trade talks.

Future — promising/uncertain.


Keaontay Ingram, the Cardinals sixth round pick in 2022 is currently nursing an injury. One would think that Ingram has the talent to make this year's team. However, Ty’Son Williams looked very sharp and elusive as the team’s leading rusher in Friday’s 18-17 win. Should the Cardinals add another running back via free agency or the waiver wire and Ty’Son Williams continues his impressive charge, if it's possible that Ingram could be placed on waivers come Aug. 29

Future — uncertain.


Trey McBride, the Cardinals surprise second round pick in 2022 is currently battling back from an injury he suffered earlier in training camp. McBride, when healthy, looks like a very good fit in the Cardinals new offense under coordinator Drew Petzing, who loves to employ a steady diet of 12 personnel.

Future — promising


Rondale Moore, the Cardinals’ 2nd round pick in 2021, has underachieved since he arrived in Arizona due primarily to injuries, One could make an argument that Greg Dortch has the ability to be as or more productive and dynamic in the offense, The Cardinals have some interesting prospects at slot WR in Andre Baccellia, Brian Cobbs, Kaden Davis and Davion Davis, while veteran WR Zach Pascal is best suited to play the slot. Now, none of these players possess Rondale Moore’s exceptional speed and explosiveness. Could the Cardinals consider trading Moore if the value in return is attractive?

Future: promising/uncertain.


D.J. Humphries (R1, 2015) appears to be one of JG’s favorite players/team leaders and, health permitting, looks like a shoe-in to start this season at left tackle.

Future: promising/uncertain (beyond 2023)

Josh Jones, the Cardinals third round pick from Houston in the 2020 NFL draft, is currently playing right tackle on the second team. Despite garnering the highest PFF grade in the entire offense last season at 75.2 (in 9 starts at LT) and despite scoring the highest PFF grade of any tackle (69.1) in this week’s 18-17 win over the Broncos, it appears that the Cardinals coaches are doing everything they can to keep Josh Jones away from his most natural position of left tackle. This is a confounding decision by a coaching staff that has vowed to make all positions open to competition. Why Kelvin Beachum (53.6) was starting at LT this week and not Josh Jones is mind-boggling. Therefore, if the coaching staff isn't going to feature one of the more gifted offensive lineman on their roster, it should behoove them to trade Josh Jones while his trade value is at its highest.

Future — uncertain.


Lecitus Smith (6th Round 2022) and Marquis Hayes (7th Round 2022) currently appear to be longshots to make the Cardinals’ 2023 roster. The coaches may or may not be interested in keeping one or both of them on the practice squad. It is doubtful, given their late Day 3 draft statuses in 2022 that either Smith or Hayes would be claimed off waivers. It would be nice to see them be signed to the PS.

Future — uncertain/doubtful.


2020 4th Round picks, Rashard Lawrence and Leki Fotu have been starters and/or rotational players on the Cardinals’ defensive line for the past three seasons. Lawrence graded well last season (64.1) until he landed on the IR after only 5 games. Meanwhile, Fotu, who played in all 17 games that included 9 starts was very inconsistent (32,4). However, Fotu is making a charge under the new coaching staff this season. He started the first pre-season game and played the best 4 consecutive snaps of his career (80.3). Meanwhile, Lawrence, who is now listed on the depth chart as a 3rd string NT, scored the lowest grade on the defense at 30.0. while playing 23 snaps in the second half.

Rashard Lawrence’s Future — uncertain/doubtful.

Leki Fotu’s future — promising/uncertain


2021 6th Round pick Victor Dimukeje graded very well in 29 snaps this week at 78.5. He has 2 QB pressures, 0 sacks and 2 tackles. However, the Cardinals’ depth at OLB now that Zaven Collins (R1 2021) , Dennis Gardeck, Cameron Thomas (R3 2022), Myjai Sanders (R3 2022) and B.J. Ojulari (R2 2023) appear to be high favorites to take the vast majority of snaps on the edge this season, At this point it would appear that if the Cardinals are going to keep a 6th OLB, the coaches would have to decided between Dimukeje and 2022 7th Round pick Jesse Luketa (66.7), who, in 31, most 1st half snaps, led the Cardinals this week in QB pressures with 5 and was in on 3 tackles. In term of special teams, it would appear that Luketa has the edge, scoring a 73.7 ST grade this week on 14 snaps (highest on the team for players who took more than 10 snaps), while Dimukeje, on 16 snaps, scored a 58.1. Plus, whenever JG is asked about Luketa, his face lights up and he offers high praise as to how physical and disruptive the former Nittany Lion is.

Zaven Collins; Future — promising

Cameron Thomas’ Future — promising

Myjai Sanders’ Future — promising/uncertain

Victor Dimukeje’s Future — uncertain/doubtful

Jesse Luketa’s Future — promising


Marco Wilson, the team’s 4th round pick in 2021, appears to have emerged as the Cardinals CB1.

Future: promising.

Christian Matthew, a small school (Valdosta St.) 7th round pick in 2022, has curried the favor of the coaching staff and has a chance to be a solid contributor opposite Wilson, although he will be facing stiff competition from rookies Kei”Trel Clark (R6 2023) and Garrett Williams (R3 2023), if and when he comes of the PUP list.

Future: promising/uncertain.


One could make a strong argument that Budda Baker, the team's 2nd round pick in 2017, is Steve Keim’s best pick as GM. Monti Ossenfort worked out a good way to compensate Budda for this season. However, another contract negotiation will need to take place in 2024, if Budda is going to remain a Cardinal for years to come.

Future: promising/uncertain.

Jalen Thomson can also be considered one of Steve Keim’s best picks (R5 of 2019 supplemental draft). Thompson’s versatility as a safety and slot CB will be tested this season and the chances are strong, if healthy, that he will thrive in Nick Rallis’ system.

Future: promising

Isaiah Simmons is the ultimate wild car this season. the coaches gave him the opportunity to tell them which position he feels he could be the most natural fit for him in order to be the dynamic playmaker he was while at Clemson. The early indications are that Isaiah looks like he has found his niche at free safety.

Future: promising.uncertain (beyond 2023, seeing as the Cardinals declines to pick up his 5th year option).


In my opinion, Steve Keim drafted talented players —- but the problem was selling the team’s draft picks to hoo own coaches from Bruce Arians to Steve Wilks to Kliff Kingsbury and all of their coordinators.

To be fair to Steve Keim, under his watch as GM, the 2015 team accomplished a franchise high 14 wins —- and the 2022 team tied for the 2nd highest regular season win total in franchise history with 11, while winning a franchise record 8 games on the road and getting off to a historic 7-0 start.

What hurt Steve Keim in the end was his and Michael Bidwill’s failure to build and maintain what NFL pundits call a “winning culture” during their tenure together in Arizona. There were flashes of potential for it —- but, when the pressure was highest —- each time, the foundation crumbled.

Also to be fair, while Steve Keim’s Achilles heel was trying to build the trenches on both sides of the ball through the draft as very few of his offensive and defensive lineman provided good, consistent play as starters. On the defensive side, Keim’s greatest weakness was in trying to draft inside linebackers,

That said, Steve Keim deserves credit for the talent he left the team with particularly at outside linebacker and especially in the secondary. At this point it appears that the defensive coaches have taken very strongly to the young talent on their side of the ball whom they inherited.

If Kyler Murray returns with a passion and takes his game to the highest level, then Steve Keim should always be lauded for deciding that Kyler Murray was a significantly more talented option at QB than Josh Rosen.

That could be a far different story if the Cardinals find themselves in a deja vu QB dilemma at the 2024 NFL Draft. Particularly in light of the $230.5M contract that Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury, with Michael Bidwill’s permission, persuaded Kyler to accept.