Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

Draft Day Gives Monti Ossenfort Chance To Reboot Cardinals

New general manager working with No. 3 pick and eight selections overall

General manager Monti Ossenfort will conduct his first NFL draft in charge of a team beginning Thursday.
General manager Monti Ossenfort will conduct his first NFL draft in charge of a team beginning Thursday.

From the time Monti Ossenfort got his first full-time NFL job as a personnel assistant with the New England Patriots in 2003, he has been thinking about running an NFL draft.

That moment has arrived.

The first-year Cardinals general manager will oversee the team's crucial class beginning Thursday night, starting with the No. 3 overall pick – assuming it isn’t traded.

"It's just been day-by-day chipping away, doing whatever I can to help out, help the team and do my role," Ossenfort said. "I don't know that there's been something that I would classify as the toughest (aspect). This is something that I've waited a long time for. I've been in a few different buildings and I pick and choose from some things I like and some things I didn't like.

"It's been fun to implement them. I'm excited for Thursday night to put them into practice."

The Cardinals are expected to have drama surrounding their first pick. The Carolina Panthers choose first, and they are expected to draft Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. The Houston Texans are No. 2, and while it was long expected they would take a QB like Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, the narrative has shifted hard that they will take an edge rusher, either Alabama's Will Anderson or Texas Tech's Tyree Wilson.

And what the Texans do will heavily impact the Cardinals.

There is little question Anderson has become the fans' favorite option. If he isn't there, it's moot. If he is, there might be difficult decisions to be made. Not know what quarterbacks would be on the board – the usual drivers of teams wanting to trade up – also makes forecasting fuzzy.

"I can't see the boards of 31 other teams," Ossenfort said. "Everybody's going to have different takes on that. It's a little bit of an unknown as is with everything about the draft. We can sit up here and try to predict what's going to happen, but in reality, nobody really knows. The quarterbacks are always a big part of that, so I think we've all got to kind of just wait and see what happens come Thursday night."

Coach Jonathan Gannon joked about the excitement he will have watching Ossenfort work the phone in the draft room, but that will be the reality. Dozens of phone calls have already been made in the weeks leading up to the draft, with some potentially laying groundwork of a trade in the right circumstance.

If the Cardinals pick at 3, the pick could be Anderson or Wilson, or maybe Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson, a name that has gathered steam of late. Whether it would be true or not, that's a different story.

"Everybody is lying," Colts GM Chris Ballard said during his pre-draft press conference. "Usually, I just either dance around the question or give you an answer. Today, I'm a dancer."

The Colts, at No. 4, are looking for a quarterback and are one of the teams the Cardinals could trade with. The Colts would swap places just to assure no one else would trade with the Cardinals and grab their QB. The Cardinals would do it to gain an extra pick.

As of now, the Cardinals have eight picks they are scheduled to make. The first pick is under the spotlight on Thursday, but they will have the third pick of both the second- and third-rounds as well, spots in which they hope/expect/pray they can get starters.

It's the first big step for Ossenfort to create the foundation he seeks for the Cardinals.

"The years of being in the draft room, it's a unique experience," Ossenfort said. "By Thursday night the decisions have been made. Our board is our board, so it's not a 'What are you thinking here?' We know which way we're going to go. I think that we want to reserve the time for if the phone rings one way or the other or if there's a strategy to move up for a player because we think he might not be there later.

"The debate on which player, player A or player B, that's done. That's over. It's really waiting to see the draft strategy, moving around the board and seeing if it makes sense. Using my experiences of seeing that happen in my years, that's what I'm going to draw upon."