With the 2023 NFL Draft officially in the books, the Arizona Cardinals leveraged their prime position to acquire additional capital and retool for what many expect to be a rebuilding season.
We break down the Cardinals’ draft class and assess the potential impact on fantasy football in the coming season.
Cardinals 2023 draft picks
Round 1: No. 6 overall — Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Round 2: No. 41 — BJ Ojulari, Edge, LSU
Round 3: No. 72 — Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
Round 3: No. 94 — Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
Round 4: No. 122 — Joe Gaines II, OG, UCLA
Round 5: No. 139 — Clayton Tune, QB, Houston
Round 5: No. 168 — Owen Pappoe, LB, Auburn
Round 6: No. 180 — Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Louisville
Round 6: No. 213 — Dante Stills, DT, West Virginia
This year’s draft was all about retooling and adding depth for the future, as no one realistically expects Arizona to contend so long as Kyler Murray is sidelined following ACL surgery. The Cardinals addressed their holes while getting the time offensive lineman in the draft, and did so while recouping additional draft capital in the process.
Did the Cardinals fill needs?
Heading into the draft the Cardinals had clear needs at cornerback, edge, and wide receiver. Three of their first four selections immediately addressed those holes, with the Johnson selection clearly done with Kyler Murray’s longevity top of mind. Ojulari doesn’t boast elite traits, but he was by far one of the better remaining options on the board and should pitch in nicely after J.J. Watt’s retirement.
Gaines has good footwork and technique on the outside and should bring ample experience after being a three-year starter at Syracuse.
Michael Wilson is the lone offensive prospect taken with fantasy potential in this group, but the reality is that fantasy managers will likely pass over many Cardinals’ players for the 2023 season. Until Murray recovers from his ACL surgery, chances are that Arizona will be glossed over when it comes to scouting for fantasy impact players.
Johnson checks off all the boxes as an elite tackle prospect and better yet, the Cardinals got their guy after trading back from the No. 3 spot, meaning they acquired more draft capital in return. He allowed just 14 total pressures from 449 pass-blocking snaps last season and should pair alongside Murray nicely when the latter returns to the field.