Dynasty fantasy football is a year-round affair. A sharp manager will be thinking about all aspects of the dynasty season. Those managers keen enough to look ahead will be the ones who can grab themselves an edge over the competition. Industry professionals and content creators will spend most of the dynasty off-season discussing incoming rookies and the related topic, the NFL draft. It is easy for us to fall in love with the next workhorse running back or prototypical alpha wide receiver. But a manager in tune with the entire draft class will find themselves ahead of the game. Whether it is the next road-paving interior offensive lineman or genetic freak edge rusher, we can find ourselves at quite the advantage come April by building an entire picture of how the 2023 class will play out. Those who prepare ahead will not be often surprised at the outcomes.
Credit for the mock draft simulation goes to the NFL Mock Draft Database. Team needs are also generated from this site. Compensatory picks have not been assigned or included in this exercise.
2023 Season Recap
The Arizona Cardinals had low expectations heading into the 2023 season. With a new head coach, a new general manager, and a roster that was missing Kyler Murray for most of the year. All those factors had fans and analysts giving them no hope of a productive season. If you look at their record of 3-14, it comes off as a wasted season, but in reality, this team took some major steps.
Coach Jonathon Gannon proved he was actually a decent coach and not just a meme-able one. He kept his team in nearly every game they had this year. While they were 3-14 overall, they were 8-8-1 against the spread, indicating they played everyone this year tough and above expectations. Their biggest win of the year came against the Dallas Cowboys, to whom they were double-digit underdogs.
That win proved this roster and this coaching staff was taking the right steps. General manager Monti Ossenfort showed in his first year that he could build a roster that showed tremendous promise and was ready to take the next step. This team is very reminiscent of what the Detroit Lions were three years ago, and look where they are now.
The continued growth of this team is dependent on its draft classes. Here is our mock for the Arizona Cardinals that should keep that growth on an uptick.
1.04 Joe Alt, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame
This will be a surprising pick for some, but knowing Monti Ossenfort, this makes the most sense. Protecting Kyler Murray is priority number one; taking a wide receiver here serves no purpose if he doesn’t have time to throw. Fear not. We will address that position momentarily.
1.27 Quinyon Mitchell, Defensive Back, Toledo
One of the more dynamic playmakers in the 2024 NFL Draft this year is Quinyon Mitchell. He has insane ball production as a defensive back, with six interceptions over two seasons. His dual ability to play both man and zone coverage is needed in this defense.
2.35 Adonai Mitchell, Wide Receiver, Texas
The Arizona Cardinals need help at the wide receiver position. Even if they resign Marquise Brown, they need someone bigger, and that is where Adonai Mitchell comes in. He high-points the ball, runs great routes, and could develop into the top wide receiver on this roster.
3.71 Christian Haynes, Interior Offensive Lineman, UConn
Christian Haynes is a fun offensive line prospect with the size and power to handle NFL defenders. He can be either a center or a guard for a team with needs on the interior offensive line. Again, protecting Kyler Murray has to remain a priority.
3.90 Maason Smith, Defensive Lineman, LSU
The Arizona Cardinals see firsthand how impactful interior defensive linemen can be within their division. They need some of their own, and Maason Smith can be that. With 39 total pressures over two full seasons, he has shown he can get into the backfield and create chaos.
4.104 Darius Robinson, Edge Rusher, Missouri
The Cardinals drafted B.J. Ojulari last year, and he has shown promise after one year, but they need more. Darius Robinson has a high production rate with nine sacks and 42 hurries in 2023. That being thrown next to Maason Smith and Ojulari gives the Cardinals a very young and high-potential group on the defensive line.
4.133 Max Melton, Cornback, Rutgers
Free agency has gutted the cornerback position for the Arizona Cardinals in recent years. Max Melton is a toolsy corner who may take some developing, but that is why you hire coaches like Gannon. He developed them during his stops with the Colts and Eagles. Now, he has another project in Arizona.
5.140 James Williams, LB/SAF, Miami (FL)
A fun, downhill safety who plays like a linebacker, James Williams is showcasing that ability at the 2024 Senior Bowl. He demonstrated playmaking ability and intelligence at Miami, giving him high NFL potential.
6.188 Trey Taylor, Safety, Air Force
Another prospect for the defensive backs, the 2023 Jim Thorpe Award winner, makes his way to the desert. Trey Taylor was Mr. Do-It-All for the Air Force Academy’s football team. He could be that while also helping out on special teams.
7.225 Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Edge, Washington
A depth piece at this point in the draft that may not have the best medicals, Zion Tupuola-Fetui is the ultimate low risk with a high reward. These are the types of picks that can only h
elp a draft class, not hurt it. The Husky edge rusher has faced a lot of injuries in his career, but when healthy, he’s a difference maker.
7.227 Tanor Bortolini, Center, Wisconsin
The final developmental piece in the Arizona Cardinals offensive line re-do is here. With a line that consists of Paris Johnson Jr., Joe Alt, Christian Haynes, and Tanor Bortolini, they may have something. Kyler Murray can play with confidence, and this offense can reach its peak after years of hyping it up.