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After 12-Pick Draft, Cardinals Feeling Good About Process

Selections were split evenly, six each on offense and defense

GM Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon chat in the Cardinals draft room.
GM Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon chat in the Cardinals draft room.

It took about two minutes – out of a 20-minute conversation – for Max Melton to know he clicked with Jonathan Gannon, with the cornerback hoping he would be picked in the draft by the Cardinals.

Such conversations go on with every potential selection on every NFL team. But it is the result of the discussions that lead the Cardinals to what they ultimately decide to bring into the fold and who fits in the culture.

The hints are there often, what makes these draftees what they are. Like when tight end Tip Reiman, drafted in the third round, said the best part of blocking was "mauling someone."

"I'm sure you guys can see a little bit of a pattern here … of what Monti and I are convicted on," Gannon said with a smile. "We're not going to miss on that."

The Cardinals ended up with 12 picks in the draft, the most they have had since the draft moved to seven rounds. It'll limit the number of undrafted rookies they sign but gave them the opportunity to take a lot of shots to find multiple contributors.

The final tally: Six picks on offense, six on defense. All who found an in with Gannon, GM Monti Ossenfort and the culture they have built.

Third-round cornerback Elijah Jones was asked during a pre-draft meeting to talk about one of his plays in college. Before the video played, Jones already immediately knew the play and could describe in detail what happened and what mistakes were made.

"I looked at Monti and I was like, 'Whoa,'" Gannon said. "That's how Garrett was."

"His demeanor reminded us a lot of Garrett Williams," Ossenfort said. "Just the way they carry themselves, just the maturity and the way they communicate. We all kind of looked at each other like, 'I wonder if he's related to Garrett at all.'"

Fourth-round safety Dadrion Taylor-Demerson said his talk with Gannon was akin to "barbershop talk," a talk less about football and more about other things, with Taylor-Demerson appreciating that Gannon understood he was football smart.

So yes, there is a type.

"I started playing when I was 16 so the mileage that they have is not what is going on with me," fifth-round tackle Christian Jones said. "I've got fresh tires and I'm ready to work. Every single day I'm getting better, so I'm closing the gap on people. They may be better than me today, but next week they won't be better than me."

How the 12 players transition to the roster will be something to watch. With so many picks, the odds are against every single one making it to the opener in September – at least on the 53-man roster.

But the Cardinals are confident they found the guys that have the best chance to do just that.

"JG and I have been pretty clear on what we want," Ossenfort said, "what he calls the price of admission."

Take a look inside the Arizona Cardinals draft room on night one of the 2024 NFL Draft