The Cardinals re-signed Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams at tight end this offseason, so the position wasn't glaring as a need as the team came into this weekend's draft.
But Friday, as the Cardinals used their second-round pick on Colorado State tight end Trey McBride instead of an edge rusher or lineman on either side of the ball, General Manager Steve Keim said it is more than 2022 that he must consider when making picks.
"We owe it to the organization to do the right thing, not only today but tomorrow and the future," Keim said. "We have a young quarterback we are excited about, we have a 24-year old receiver we added (Thursday), and we just added a young dynamic playmaker as a tight end. It made sense in every way."
McBride was the highest-graded player left on the Cardinals' board "by far," Keim said when the Cards were picking at 55 overall.
"We did not think this guy would be there," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "He was way up on our board, way up in our ranking."
McBride was giddy about the pick. He trained at EXOS in Arizona the past four months, loving his time in the Valley so much he told his agent he wanted to buy a residence here regardless of where he ended up in the draft.
For him to land with the Cardinals just made it that much better.
"I think I'm a very unique guy," McBride said. "I'm a guy who can do it all."
"They haven't talked to me yet about my role, but I do know exactly what I'm getting myself into," he added. "I'm more excited as heck to get in there and learn."
McBride, 6-foot-4 and 246 pounds, was considered the top tight end in the class by most pundits, after a year at Colorado State in which he had 90 receptions for 1,191 yards.
The Cardinals believe he can do whatever they need, whether it is flexing out wide, as an in-line blocker, or even work out of the backfield as an H-back. Keim and Kingsbury also raved about the character of the three-time captain.
"People ask what do you like about him," Keim said. "What's there not to like about him?"
While McBride's arrival can be about the future, it also could be about the present, with Williams still coming back from an ACL injury. His status once the season starts remains unclear.
"He's been rehabbing," Kingsbury said. "It'll be a process and we knew that after his initial surgery. But he's doing everything he can. I don't have a timetable."
If Williams is healthy, the Cardinals will have an abundance of tight ends. But Kingsbury wouldn't bite when asked if that meant a chance at a lot more 13 (one-back, three-tight-end sets) personnel.
"I'll stick to 12," Kingsbury said. "12 and 11."