Rebuilding Cardinals weigh options with No. 3 pick in NFL Draft

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The Arizona Cardinals have avoided saying the franchise has entered rebuild mode, even if it sure does feel like it.

The Cardinals will have the No. 3 overall pick in next week’s NFL draft in Kansas City, Missouri, which provides one of the first big moments for new coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort.

There’s been rampant speculation that the Cardinals might trade the No. 3 pick, moving down in the draft to add a few more picks for a roster that needs talent at just about every spot.

The Cardinals haven’t ruled out anything. Gannon said the one certainty is that he and Ossenfort are on the same page.

"It’s a good question," Gannon said. "I think the conversation — every day — that we have about that is good. He’s not going to make a move before we talk through the pros and cons. I feel very confident with a couple different plans that he’s laid forth and I’m behind him 100%. I know he’s going to do whatever he can to help our group win."

The draft is a welcome chance for good news for a franchise that hasn’t had much over the past year.

Among the lowlights: Franchise quarterback Kyler Murray tore the ACL in his right knee late last season, which was one of many reasons the team finished 4-13 despite high expectations. Also, a former front office executive filed an arbitration claim against the team that accuses owner Michael Bidwill of cheating by using a "burner phone" scheme back in 2018.


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The timing of Murray’s injury means the quarterback will likely miss at least a few games next season. The team’s backup options are veteran Colt McCoy and journeyman David Blough. Both had up-and-down performances last season after Murray’s injury.

The Cardinals haven’t been particularly active in free agency, adding mostly role players on one-year deals.

Pick 'em

The Cardinals are in the No. 3 spot because their 2022 season went about as poorly as possible. Arizona’s bad season led to the firing of fourth-year coach Kliff Kingsbury in January. The team also parted ways with GM Steve Keim. The Cardinals haven’t had this high of a selection since taking Murray with the No. 1 pick back in 2019.


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Arizona’s a team that needs talent at just about every position. The Cardinals are particularly thin on the offensive line and defensive line and they could also use a cornerback or two. They could also be in the market for a No. 1 receiver, depending on if they decide to trade three-time All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins.

Don't need

The Cardinals are set at quarterback with Murray, who is signed through at least the 2028 season. They’re also good at safety with two-time All-Pro Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson. Tight end is fairly stocked with veteran Zach Ertz and second-year player Trey McBride, who showed promise late in the season. Ertz is rehabbing an ACL tear suffered midway through last season.


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Smart with Murray

Murray was at the team’s voluntary workouts earlier this month and Gannon is pleased with the progress the franchise quarterback has made since his surgery in December.

But it’s clear the Cardinals aren’t going to rush him back to the field.

"As good as you feel, there’s going to be a little dip," Gannon said of Murray. "You’ve got to make sure you don’t overdo it. Because that’s a part of being smart when you’re rehabbing any injury. You want to go, go, go, but sometimes you’ve got to push the pause button. Excited where he’s at and where he’s going."

First-round history

The Cardinals are hoping their first-round picks from 2020 and 2021 — linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins — can continue to develop into star players.

Simmons had 99 tackles and four sacks last season while Collins had 100 tackles, including 11 for a loss.

The Cardinals didn’t have a first-round selection last year, dealing the No. 23 overall pick to the Baltimore Ravens for receiver Marquise Brown.

Brown finished second on the team with 709 yards receiving and three TDs, despite missing five games because of a foot injury.