Cardinals active on trades again, beef up defense with picks
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals traded down in the NFL draft for a second straight night on Friday before beefing up their defense by adding edge rusher BJ Ojulari in the second round and Syracuse cornerback Garrett Williams in the third.
First-year general manager Monti Ossenfort continued his wheeling-and-dealing ways, opening Friday by sending the No. 33 and No. 81 picks to the Tennessee Titans for the No. 41 and No. 72 picks in this year’s draft. The Cardinals also received a third-round pick in next year’s draft.
It continued a trend for the Cardinals, who are in rebuilding mode coming off a 4-13 season. Adding good players in this draft is important, but stockpiling picks in 2024 is also a priority.
Ossenfort has already added an extra first-round pick and two third-round picks through his moves the past two days.
"I don't know what a normal draft is — I can't say this is my philosophy," Ossenfort said. "It's really just that these opportunities presented themselves and we took advantage."
The Cardinals had one more pick late in the third round, adding Stanford receiver Michael Wilson.
Arizona will have five picks on Saturday.
The Cardinals used the No. 41 pick on Friday to replenish their pass rush after J.J. Watt retired and Zach Allen signed with the Broncos during free agency. The 6-foot-2, 248-pound Ojulari played in 11 games last season for the Tigers, finishing with 58 tackles, including 8 1/2 for a loss and 5 1/2 sacks.
"I definitely want to come in and be able to contribute immediately," Ojulari said. "Get in with the coaches, learn from the vets, and just contribute any way I can for the team."
Cornerback has been a trouble spot for the Cardinals the past few seasons, so adding Williams with the No. 72 pick made sense.
Williams is coming off a serious knee injury — he tore his ACL in October after leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in pass breakups in each of the previous two seasons. He hopes to be at full health by training camp, which would be about nine months after the injury.
"I think they believe in what I can be and what I am when I'm healthy," Williams said. "I can't wait to get healthy and show them that they're exactly right."
Wilson was the No. 94 overall pick. He's missed big chunks of the last three seasons because of various injuries.
Ossenfort — who worked in the Titans front office before coming to Arizona — has shown a willingness to make deals in his first draft with the Cardinals. They had the No. 3 overall pick on Thursday before moving down to No. 12 in a trade and then moving back up to No. 6 in another trade less than an hour later.
The Cardinals selected Ohio State offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. with the No. 6 pick.