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Arizona Cardinals 2023 NFL Draft picks, analysis and prospect spotlight

Paris Johnson Jr. (center) with general manager Monti Ossenfort (left) and head coach Jonathan Gannon (right) during a news conference on April 28, 2023, at the Arizona Cardinals training center in Tempe. Paris Johnson Jr

The 2023 NFL Draft is officially in the books. After a flurry of selections from Thursday to Saturday, 259 players were selected to join the NFL.

With that, we give you our full recap of the Arizona Cardinals‘ draft, with analysis on every selection the team made during the weekend and an in-depth look at their top pick.

For more information on the players your favorite team drafted, it’s not too late to get the 2023 NFL Draft Guide, which includes expanded scouting reports, draft grades, offseason reports, unique advanced data, PFF grades and much more.

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2023 NFL Draft Picks


R1 (6): T Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
R2 (41): EDGE BJ Ojulari, LSU
R3 (72): CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse
R3 (94): WR Michael Wilson, Stanford
R4 (122): G Jon Gaines II, UCLA
R5 (139): QB Clayton Tune, Houston
R5 (168): LB Owen Pappoe, Auburn
R6 (180): CB Kei’Trel Clark, Louisville
R6 (213): DI Dante Stills, West Virginia

Day 1: After moving down from No. 3, the Cardinals move back up and select their left tackle in Paris Johnson Jr. He ticks all the boxes physically, coming in at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, and he allowed just 14 total pressures from 449 pass-blocking snaps last season, the best of his career. The wheeling and dealing by Arizona just makes this that much better.

Day 2: Pass rush was a clear need for the Cardinals entering this draft, and Ojulari was one of the better remaining options. He doesn’t have elite traits, but he wins with a deep collection of pass-rush moves and a high motor off the edge.

If not for the injury he sustained in 2022, Williams would have come off the board much earlier. He boasts really good footwork as a smooth mover on the outside and was a three-year starter at Syracuse. Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon will love Williams’ ability in off-zone coverage, the bread and butter of his defense as a former secondary coach.

Wilson played only 14 games over the past three seasons, and even when he did play, he didn’t see many targets. But he has the frame to be a more-than-solid player in the NFL. He averaged 2.3 yards per route run and caught 50.0% of the contested targets he saw in his final season at Stanford.

Day 3: Gaines is a reliable asset in both the run and pass game, as he graded at 76.7 and 77.4 in those facets, respectively. He is one of only three guards in the class to grade at least a 76.7 in both the pass and run games. Gaines may not have any particular special skill, but his consistency and balance are much needed in Arizona.

Tune earned back-to-back grades above 90.0, and his 79.5% adjusted completion percentage ranked seventh in the country in 2022. Tune is a good athlete to boot, which adds some rushing upside and doesn’t require a complete change of the playbook from what Kyler Murray runs. With Murray on the mend from a torn ACL, the Cardinals were smart to add a young, developmental piece to the room. He just needs to learn the NFL game where not everything is schemed open like it was at Houston.

Pappoe lit up the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, putting up a 4.38-second time. He struggled against the run, producing a 59.5 PFF run defense grade in 2022 but had a 77.2 coverage grade and missed just 6.9% of the tackles he attempted.

Clark projects to the slot at the next level, fitting his playing style well as a downhill attacker who new head coach Jonathan Gannon should have some fun bringing on the occasional slot blitz. At 22 years old, Clark also has a ton of experience, with over 2,000 college snaps.


Prospect Spotlight: T Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State

Johnson showed out in his first season at left tackle, yielding all of 14 pressures on 449 pass-blocking snaps. At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, he ticks all the physical boxes you could want at the position.

Strengths, weaknesses and NFL role

Where he wins: Tools

Do you want someone who can cut off the backside, displace a three-technique, mirror an athlete off the edge and lead out on a screen? Johnson is your man. It's all there for him to be a high-end NFL tackle.

What's his role? Left tackle

Sure, Johnson could flip over to right tackle, as well, but that would be three position switches in three years. He just needs the reps at this point, so keeping him on the left side would be best for his development.

What he can improve: Hand usage

The truth is that there are a lot of areas where Johnson could stand to improve — independent hand usage being chiefly among them. That's almost a good thing considering how well he's performed already.

Download the PFF draft guide for an in-depth look at the top players in the 2023 NFL Draft class. 


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