Instead of making a first-round pick, the Arizona Cardinals traded the No. 23 pick to the Baltimore Ravens for Marquise Brown and the No. 100 pick. This is a win-win trade as the Cardinals acquired a misused receiver and the Ravens got better value than Brown was worth to them. While this diluted the Cardinals’ draft pool, they used their picks with great savvy. They did not make a bad pick in their eight selections, and they picked up solid value despite not having a first-round, fourth-round, or fifth-round pick.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Recaps.
Best Pick: Cameron Thomas (Round 3, Pick 87)
Thomas was one of the most productive players in college football last season. He racked up a Mountain West-leading 20.5 tackles for loss (third in NCAA) as well as 10.5 sacks (second in the conference). He won conference player of the year, and he should continue to be productive in the NFL. Thomas has many ways to win on the edge, and he has unparalleled effort. He also has a solid bend around the edge. Thomas has a well-defined pass-rushing script, and he has excellent hands.
For more on Thomas, check out our scouting report on him.
Worst Pick: Trey McBride (Round 2, Pick 55)
The Cardinals had such a solid draft that McBride comes in as their worst pick with an above-average C+ grade. McBride was the top tight end in the class, but the Cardinals drafted him 18 picks before any other tight end went off the board. The Cardinals could have had the pair of Drake Jackson and Jeremy Ruckert or Cade Otton rather than the McBride and Myjai Sanders pair they nabbed on Day 2. This is more of a nit-pick than anything, however. The Cardinals had perhaps the highest floor of a draft of any team this draft season.
For more on McBride, check out our scouting report on him.
Sleeper Pick: Keaontay Ingram (Round 6, Pick 201)
After transferring to USC, Ingram looked faster and shiftier than ever. While he is not a burner, he has a great short-area burst. He won’t be a bell-cow back in the NFL, but he can be a strong rotational back for the Cardinals. He has pass-catching upside, and he improved dramatically as a pass blocker in 2021. Ingram has good size and strength for the position, and he is decisive when picking holes to run through.
The Cardinals made the most of a depleted pool of picks. They did not have the best class, but, unlike some of the top teams, the Cardinals did not have any huge whiffs. If their class was compared to a baseball player, it would be Ichiro Suzuki. They did not have any home runs, but they racked up the hits with great efficiency. Factoring in the Brown trade, the Cardinals earn a healthy B+ grade.
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