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Monti 'Haul' Makes Many Deals For Cardinals In First Draft

GM Ossenfort sets team up in big way with 2024 selections

Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort did his best Monty Hall impression during the three days of the draft.
Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort did his best Monty Hall impression during the three days of the draft.

In the days before the NFL draft, during their pre-draft press conference, Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon looked over at GM Monti Ossenfort and told the gathered media he couldn't wait to see Ossenfort working the phones once the Cards were on the clock.

Whether Gannon knew what was to come or if he just ended up entertained, Ossenfort was on those phones, making deals, in a manner the Cardinals have never really used.

Not only did Ossenfort and his staff create a draft class that many applauded, behind the curtain of the 2024 draft, he created a pick haul that sets the team up for significant success in building the roster.

"This has been an unbelievable three days for me," Ossenfort said. "Just to be a part of this team and those individuals in that room. It was exciting, it was intense, and I can't wait to get the guys on the field.

"Adding the picks, again, I don't think it was something we necessarily set out to do."

The Cardinals had multiple chances to make more trades on Saturday, but "they didn't make sense," Ossenfort said. "On Thursday and Friday, they made sense."

Even without a sixth-round pick next year (dealt away in the Chosen Anderson trade last year), the Cardinals should have 11 picks at their disposal in 2024. The Cards had a nine-player class over the past three days (after starting with eight picks) yet added four extra choices through trades for next year.

GM Monti Ossenfort (left) and assistant GM Dave Sears meet with the media after the NFL Draft had ended.
GM Monti Ossenfort (left) and assistant GM Dave Sears meet with the media after the NFL Draft had ended. also projects the Cardinals to earn a fourth-round compensatory pick after the free-agent loss of defensive end Zach Allen.

Even out of a misstep – the tampering with coach Jonathan Gannon – the Cardinals came out of it with an extra pick.

Table inside Article
Round Origination
First Own
First Houston Texans
Second Own
Third Own
Third Houston Texans
Third Tennessee Titans
Fourth Own
Fourth Projected comp pick for Zach Allen
Fifth Own
Fifth Philadelphia Eagles
Seventh Own

The centerpiece of the wheeling and dealing was acquiring the Houston Texans' first-round pick in the Thursday trade down. The Texans are expected to struggle this upcoming season, especially with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, and that pick could find its way into the top 5.

There are scenarios that Ossenfort and his staff have run through before the draft or before each day starts. Other times, there are spontaneous calls from another team looking to make a move that make sense for the Cardinals.

"It's really not as complicated as it seems sometimes," assistant GM Dave Sears said. "Monti did a good job staying calm in the moment and making the best decisions."

Judging each deal and saying yay or nay goes through a gauntlet of vetting – "The NFL draft is about value," Sears said – that includes manager of football analytics and research Charlie Adkins and assistant director of player personnel Rob Kissel plugging the potential deal into a trade chart calculator to make sure it works.

It isn't just about raw data, however.

"It's also the sense of, 'Are we willing to do this? Are we willing to take the risk of losing said player and what are we going to gain?' " Sears said. "There is a human instinct to it but we do balance that with an analytics portion."

With 11 picks – or more, by the time the Cardinals get there next April – Ossenfort's draft-weekend bartering has the franchise in a good spot as they reset the franchise.

"Our preparation on the 2024 draft has already begun," Ossenfort said. "Our scouts have already turned their attention to that."