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Will The Cardinals Draft Be A Four-Gone Conclusion?

With 11 picks in NFL Draft, Ossenfort's first call is whether to trade or pick first choice

Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (right) and assistant GM Dave Sears chat in the draft room during the 2023 draft.
Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort (right) and assistant GM Dave Sears chat in the draft room during the 2023 draft.

Late last week, Monti Ossenfort was asked the question that is at the forefront of the Cardinals' draft direction come Thursday night: whether the GM knows if he would prefer to trade down from the No. 4 selection or stick and pick.

"I have an idea," Ossenfort said. "I have an idea."

All the information isn't known. Not yet. That won't happen until the draft starts, until players begin to be picked, until the Cardinals are on the clock at 4 overall. Then the Cardinals and Ossenfort will have 10 minutes to execute whatever plan they have.

At least the speculation will end. The NFL Draft starts Thursday at 5 p.m. Arizona time, And somewhere around 5:45, everyone will know what the outcome of 4 will be.

There is the fan favorite Marvin Harrison Jr., the wideout from Ohio State. Ossenfort never gave any clues to how he might rank the top three receivers – LSU's Malik Nabers and Washington's Rome Odunze are also rated within that trio – and the existence of all three gives Ossenfort flexibility to potentially move and still get an excellent pass catcher.

Then again, staying in place and just making the selection at 4 might be the "idea" Ossenfort had all along.

Much depends on what happens in picks 1-3. The Bears are going to take QB Caleb Williams first. Washington and New England are almost certain to select QBs themselves. So is there a fourth quarterback a team not only is willing to move up for, but pay a ransom for the pick?

"I wish I could predict the future," Ossenfort said.

The willingness to trade was shown as the M.O. of M.O last year, when Ossenfort moved down from No. 3 to No. 12 and then back up to No. 6. They got tackle Paris Johnson Jr. and, among other assets, an extra first-round pick – No. 27 this year, as it turned out.

That's the other part of the draft – the Cardinals, as of now, will have two picks Thursday night. The 4 will get most of the attention, but being able to add another key piece, whether it's an edge rusher, a cornerback, a defensive lineman, or an offensive lineman, in the top 27 picks should be roster-changing.

And those are just the first two of – as of now – 11 picks Ossenfort has on tap. Barring a trade, the Cardinals not only have a high second-round pick but also three picks in the third round on the draft's second day.

Beyond what positions the Cardinals will target, "the right people, can't get enough of them," Ossenfort said.

Added coach Jonathan Gannon, "Team-first people, team-first players. When they understand that, they live that, and that's how they go about going through their daily routine -- I think that's what wins."

Such research has been studied for weeks and months. Now the Cardinals are prepared to bring in a new draft class, regardless of whether it starts at pick No. 4 or elsewhere in the first round.

"I don't know that anybody knows anything more than we know," Ossenfort said. "I think we're all just waiting. We'll sit there and watch TV just like you guys do as those picks come across the board."