Clock is ticking: Arizona Cardinals set eyes on NFL draft with fourth pick overall

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort is focused on finding “good players” and “good people” through the 2024 NFL Draft to build the team back into a contender. (Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Epes/Arizona Cardinals)

PHOENIX – Following the fast frenzy of free agent action that has taken place over the past few months, the Arizona Cardinals now have their eyes set on 11 total draft picks heading into the NFL draft. But it all starts with the fourth overall pick for a team looking to revamp and reload following a 4-13 season.

Last Thursday, Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon took the podium to discuss their plans for the draft, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.

With the clock quickly winding down, teams are scrambling to find the right players and the Cardinals seemed ready for when their name is called.

“I’d say our board is 95-98% complete…we’re in a really good spot,” Ossenfort said.

The Cardinals find themselves in a position to make an early splash in round one, especially with Ohio State’s superstar wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. on the board. Ossenfort wouldn’t comment on whether the Cardinals want to commit to a target or find a “dance partner” to gather more picks.

“I think it’s all situational based,” Ossenfort said. “You always want more picks but also we need players …I think it’s really more opportunity-based.”

Many Cardinal fans and reporters see Harrison Jr. as the Cardinals’ pick at No. 4, with Arizona Sports reporter Tyler Drake calling Harrison Jr. “Larry Fitzgerald 2.0.”

In his three-year tenure at Ohio State, Harrison Jr. played in 38 total games with just over 2,600 yards receiving and 31 total receiving touchdowns.

For the Cardinals, however, it’s deeper than just drafting a good football player. They’re also looking for a good person off the field.

“Good players, right people,” said Ossenfort, “picking the right people, good people…people that fit what we’re trying to do both on the field and off the field.”

While Cardinals fans don’t know exactly what Ossenfort and Gannon are shopping for with the fourth pick, fans can get a sense of how much the team values the pick overall. But they would swap it, Ossenfort suggested, if the price made sense.

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“Guys, I love my house,” Ossenfort said. “if all of a sudden there’s a knock on my door and someone offers me something, I’m gonna look and see what they’re offering.”

It’s not just the fourth overall pick the Cardinals are thinking about on Thursday as the Cardinals also hold the 27th overall pick, which they received from the Texans in a draft day trade in 2023.

So it’s very possible that if the player the Cardinals are eyeing isn’t available at No. 4, the Cardinals can trade down to a spot that feels comfortable for them while also capitalizing on that later draft pick.

ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler said this about the Cardinals’ possibility of trading down, “Chargers and Cardinals are trying to sell high; high-interest rate. Most teams I’ve talked to expect one of these two teams to trade back…”

If the Cardinals do trade back, they will likely be looking at LSU receiver Malik Nabers or Washington receiver Rome Odunze.

Nabers, in three seasons, had 189 receptions for 3,003 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Tigers, while in four seasons with the Huskies, Odunze hauled in 214 receptions for 3,272 yards and 24 touchdowns.

The Cardinals are one of the few teams who get to set the tone for the draft and will have a lot of options at pick No. 4. Ossenfort and Gannon hope they have positioned their team to be at the driving wheel of destiny and are eyeing another draft that not only sets themselves up for success this season but for the seasons to follow.

James Morel(he/him/his)
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

James Morel expects to graduate in May 2025 with a master’s degree in sports journalism. Morel has written articles for AZPreps365 and run broadcasts with the ASU Pac-12 stream team.