Things couldn’t have started out any better for the Cardinals last season after they stormed out of the gate to a 7-0 record. Even their first loss was just a three-point defeat at the hands of the Packers. However, they flamed out down the stretch, losing four of their final five games and finished with an 11-6 record.
Quarterback Kyler Murray did miss some time with an injury, but he also struggled after returning, throwing just seven touchdown passes over the final six games.
After being dispatched by the Rams in the Wild Card round, the Cardinals will look to take the next step and make a deep run in the playoffs. They badly need DeAndre Hopkins to stay healthy, especially after losing Christian Kirk in free agency.
They did sign James Conner to an extension to lead their backfield, although Chase Edmonds departed for the Dolphins. If there is a positive, it’s that they will get a full season from tight end Zach Ertz, who they acquired from the Eagles at last season’s trade deadline.
Here’s how the Cardinals attacked the 2022 NFL Draft:
Cardinals NFL Draft Picks 2022
- Round 2, Pick 23 (55th Overall): Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
- Round 3, Pick 23 (87th Overall): Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State
- Round 3, Pick 36 (100th Overall): Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
- Round 6, Pick 23 (201st Overall): Keaontay Ingram, RB, USC
- Round 6, Pick 37 (215th Overall): Lecitus Smith, G, Virginia Tech
- Round 7, Pick 23 (244th Overall): Christian Matthew, DB, Valdosta State
- Round 7, Pick 35 (256th Overall): Jesse Luketa, LB, Penn State
- Round 7, Pick 36 (257th Overall): Marquis Hayes, G, Oklahoma
By trading out of the first round to acquire Marquise Brown from the Ravens, the Cardinals filled a need after losing Christian Kirk to the Jaguars. Personally, I think this was way too much to give up for Brown, but that’s beside the point.
Arizona also needed to address their linebacker group after seeing Chandler Jones depart in free agency. He has been an anchor for this defense since 2016 and is now with the Raiders.
The Cardinals used their first pick of the draft on Colorado State’s Trey McBride. He’s a good athlete and a polished pass-catcher. Pairing him with Ertz will make for a nice pair of tight ends on this offense.
I wanted to see Arizona draft a cornerback early on, but they didn’t address the secondary until taking Valdosta State defensive back Christian Matthew the seventh round.
For the most part, I really wasn’t a fan of what Arizona did in the draft. The move for Brown cost them a lot and failing to address the secondary early on didn’t make much sense, especially for a team that was one of the worst at defending the pass last year.
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Note: The Cardinals NFL Draft predictions below were published before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Pre-Draft Cardinals NFL Mock Draft Predictions 2022
- Round 1, Pick 23 (23rd Overall): George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
- Round 2, Pick 23 (55th Overall): Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
- Round 3, Pick 23 (87th Overall): Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
More Possible Cardinals Draft Targets: Tyler Linderbaum, OC, Iowa; Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington; Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson
Pre-Draft Cardinals Team Needs 2022
The Cardinals need help in the secondary after allowing 30 passing touchdowns last season. That was the eighth-most allowed in the league, and only four behind the Colts, who allowed the most.
Their offense had its own issues, but their defense allowed at least 30 points in three of their final five games during the regular season. Then, the Rams torched them for 34 points in their lone playoff game.
2. EDGE Rusher
Their 41 sacks weren’t a terrible mark, but it placed the Cardinals in the middle of the pack in that category in the league. J.J. Watt was limited by injuries again, and they were counting on him to help put pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Their biggest loss of the offseason was the departure of Chandler Jones, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders. He had 10.5 sacks last season and reached double-digit sacks in five of his six seasons in Arizona.
3. Wide Receiver
The wide receiver options behind Hopkins leave a lot to be desired. The loss of Kirk, who had a career-high 982 receiving yards last season, is a big one. On the bright side, they did bring back A.J. Green, who had 848 receiving yards.
2021 second-round pick Rondale Moore should be thrust into a more prominent role, but the Cardinals could also look to add depth through this year’s draft.
Cardinals May Also Consider Drafting: Running Back, Defensive Line, Center