There was plenty of drama last Sunday, but when the clock hit all zeroes, the Arizona Cardinals ended up right where they started at the beginning of the week: with the #4 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
This is one of the strongest—and most intriguing—drafts in recent memory, and the Cardinals figure to be major players in the storylines leading up to the draft. The team was in a similar situation last year when the Cardinals had the #3 pick. They ultimately traded back with the Houston Texans, landing Paris Johnson Jr. at #6 as well as a 2nd-rounder last year and this year’s 1st. It was quite a haul.
What does GM Monti Ossenfort have up his sleeve this year? Well, that largely depends on what happens in front of him in the top three. Today, let’s take a quick look at the possible scenarios for the Cardinals with the #4 pick. We can then spend the next two and a half months picking them apart, as is tradition. Here we go!
Scenario #1: QBs Go 1-2-3
This is probably the “chalk” scenario, and one many Cardinals fans are hoping for. At this point, just about everyone expects USC’s Caleb Williams to go #1. In this scenario, the Chicago Bears would either draft Williams trade with another team outside of the top three who would then draft him. Then the Washington Commanders would take either UNC’s Drake Maye at or LSU’s Jayden Daniels #2. It gets a little more interesting at #3, but the New England Patriots are as QB needy as anyone and would presumably draft whichever QB is left—or trade down with another QB-needy team.
Cardinals on the Clock: In this scenario, most mocks have the Cardinals taking the best non-QB on the board, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. The Cardinals obviously have a ton of needs (OL, DL, EDGE, CB), but WR is at or near the top of that list, and Harrison seems like a (pardon the overused cliché) generational talent. Kyler Murray throwing to him and Trey McBride for the next decade sure would be a lot of fun. Of course, given all those other needs, trading back would also be an option, but I think many Cardinals fans would be apoplectic if they passed on Harrison here, so he would hopefully be the pick.
Scenario #2: Marvin Harrison Jr. Off the Board
Of course, MHJ might not be there for the Cardinals to take at all. The Bears could either take him at #1 (very unlikely), or they could trade back with Washington or New England and take him at #2 or #3. Or else the Patriots could take him at #3 if they don’t like whichever QB is left. Or another team entirely could swoop up and snatch him ahead of the Cardinals. There are a number of ways it could happen, but those dreaming of MJH in the desert should be prepared for scenarios where he doesn’t make it to #4.
Cardinals on the Clock: Most mocks have the Redbirds taking another OT if Harrison is off the board, either Penn State’s Olu Fashanu or Notre Dame’s Joe Alt. Not sexy, and we just took an OT in the 1st last year, but investing in the O-line is always a good thing. That said, in this scenario one of the top-3 QBs would be on the board, so a team might be willing to overpay to move up to the Cardinals’ spot. I would be totally okay trading down and potentially grabbing one of the tackles a bit later or another top-flight WR prospect (Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze?) or even a pass rusher like Dallas Turner. And keep in mind the Cardinals have that Houston 1st, so they can be very mobile on the draft board if needed. I think I’d slightly favor trading back here if Harrison is off the board.
Scenario #3: Williams or Maye Are Available at #4
The NFL Draft is always unpredictable, and QB prospects tend to put that unpredictability into overdrive. Do you remember the Mayfield/Darnold/Allen debates back in 2018? Or Burrow/Tagovailoa/Herbert in 2020? Lawrence/Wilson/Lance in 2021? Or even Young/Stroud last year? Well, Williams/Maye/Daniels is shaping up to be the same kind of debate. There is still plenty of time before the draft, and some team might decide that Daniels is the top QB on their board, or Williams has some kind of Bo Callahan–esque slide, and/or another team really likes Harrison or one of the tackles. It’s not likely, but it’s always a good idea to expect the unexpected when it comes to the NFL Draft.
Cardinals on the Clock: So what happens if one of the consensus top-2 QBs is available for the Cardinals at #4? We’re getting into purely hypothetical scenarios here, but is there any chance the team would decide to draft a QB if they believe Williams/Maye represents a clear upgrade over Kyler? It sounds like the team is extremely confident in Kyler, but we all remember “Josh is our guy.” Granted, that was the previous regime, but that regime didn’t exactly expect to have the #1 pick in 2019. Just like no one is expecting Williams or Maye to be there at #4. I don’t *think* Ossenfort would take a QB—he’d almost certainly trade back for another massive haul of picks—but it’s worth thinking about. That’s what draft season is for, right? Rampant speculation and fantastical scenarios!
All that said, here is what I think are the most likely scenarios for the Cardinals at #4, in descending order of likeliness:
- Draft MJH at #4 if he’s available.
- Draft one of the tackles if MJH is not available.
- Trade back to add more picks.
You can count me among those Cardinals fans who really wants MJH, but I trust Ossenfort to make the right call come draft day. He had a great first draft as GM and I can’t wait to see what he does this year.
Now it’s your turn, Birdgang. What scenarios do you see playing out? What are you hoping for on draft day? What are you expecting? You know the drill: vote in the poll and get the conversation going in the comments.
What position do you most hope the Cardinals address with their top pick?
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