2023 NFL Draft: NFC West winners and losers and where the Seahawks fall
By Jake Luppino
Winner: Arizona Cardinals
Since the start of the 2022 offseason, the Arizona Cardinals found themselves in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Before the season even began, it appeared as if the Cardinals and Kyler Murray were heading toward a divorce. Rather, it was former head coach Kliff Kingsbury who got fired. The Cardinals decided to keep their faith in Murray and build around him.
I didn’t think I’d be saying this a week ago, but I absolutely loved what the Cardinals did in the draft. This is a team with many holes and a quarterback who is getting overcompensated. With a new head coach and general manager in place, this draft was going to be critical for the Cardinals and there future projection. This is the time where the new guys get to come in and set the tone and culture for what they expect in years to come.
The Cardinals were able to address current needs while also setting themselves up nicely for the future.
Rd 1, Pk 6 (via DET)
OT Paris Johnson Jr.
Rd 2, Pk 41 (via TEN)
EDGE B.J. Ojulari
Rd 3, Pk 72 (via TEN)
CB Garrett Williams
Rd 3, Pk 94
WR Michael Wilson
Rd 4, Pk 122 (from DET via MIA)
OL Jon Gaines II
Rd 5, Pk 139 (from DET via DEN)
QB Clayton Tune
Rd 6, Pk 168 (from ARI via DET)
LB Owen Pappoe
Rd 6, Pk 180
CB Kei’Trel Clark
Rd 6, Pk 213
DT Dante Stills
Best Pick: Round 1 (Pick 6 via DET): OT Paris Johnson Jr, Ohio State — athletic LT who can anchor this offensive line and protect Kyler Murray’s blind side
It is now fair to question the durability of QB Kyler Murray. With the dollar sign attached to his name, it is critically important that the Cardinals invest in a left tackle. With their first pick in the draft, they did just that by selecting LT Paris Johnson Jr out of Ohio State. He was considered to be the best tackle in the draft and is now required to protect the blind side of Murray when he returns to the field.
With the rest of their picks, the Cardinals selected different positions to address different needs. The pick of Garrett Williams has gone under the radar because Williams is recovering from an injury. But, he is going to be starter in this league and to get him in the 3rd round with the Titans pick can prove to be huge for this franchise. Also, the Cardinals made a lot of different moves early on in this draft and it set them up beautifully for next years draft.
Biggest Takeaway: Building for the Future
The Cardinals let the NFL world know they are in no rush to win this season. There star QB is going to be sidelined for the majority of the first half of the season. Through trades on draft night, the Cardinals earned themselves an extra first and two extra thirds for the 2024 NFL Draft. Experts have already said the 2024 Draft class is going to be better than the one we just welcomed into the league. Not too mention the fact that the Cardinals have a legit shot of winding up the worst record and being in a position to trade the number one overall pick for the highly coveted Caleb Williams out of USC.
Potential Gem: Round 6 (Pick 168 via DET): LB Owen Pappoe, Auburn
I was shocked to see Owen Pappoe fall to the 6th round of the draft. He is an athletic linebacker who plays off good instincts. I think his size was a major concern for many teams, but in today’s NFL, there a lot of undersized players who perform at high levels. Given the construction of this Cardinals roster, there is no reason why Pappoe can’t earn a big role on this defense if given the chance.