Cardinals 5-round mock draft: Trading down for Olu Fashanu allows Arizona to build around Kyler Murray

2RXXR0K CHAMPAIGN, IL - SEPTEMBER 16: Penn State Nittany Lions Offensive Lineman Olumuyiwa Fashanu (74) during the college football game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Illinois Fighting Illini on September 16, 2023, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• Building around the QB: The Arizona Cardinals can build around Kyler Murray instead of drafting his replacement.

• Building through the trenches: Arizona gets big influx of trench talent.

Let’s make a deal: This team has a lot of draft ammo to play within the first five rounds.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

As we enter the month of November, we want to ramp up our mock draft coverage of draft needs with some team-centric mock drafts. Today, we have the Arizona Cardinals, who have a good amount of picks in Rounds 1-5, and we give them even more with a little maneuver atop the draft.


ROUND 1, PICK 4: *TRADE* OT OLU FASHANU, PENN STATE

Trade details: Giants send 2024 first (No. 4), 2024 second (No. 35), 2025 first and 2026 first, Cardinals send 2024 first (No. 1)

My thought process here – since I should get that out of the way before talking about the trade compensation – is that unless Kyler Murray looks awful after his return, the Cardinals should use the No. 1 pick this year to build around him in the form of acquiring more premium draft picks in the following offseasons. They should want to trade down and capitalize on the quarterback price for No. 1 rather than take a non-QB themselves. However, they don’t want to move down too far. Staying in the top five still allows them to get Olu Fashanu, who would set up a high-ceiling offensive tackle duo with Paris Johnson Jr., in this scenario.

As for the compensation, all of that is so fickle. Some might argue it’s too much, some might say too little, but three first-round picks will be the starting point for the opportunity to draft a quarterback with Caleb Williams and Drake Maye's talent.

Editor's note: Users can't trade 2026 draft picks in PFF's Mock Draft Simulator, so the Giants' 2026 first-round pick that's included in the above trade is omitted in the graphic. 


ROUND 1, PICK 15: CB NATE WIGGINS, CLEMSON

The Cardinals secondary has a few nice players, including Garrett Williams and Kei’Trel Clark, both of whom can grow into starters (Clark as a slot). Nonetheless, they could still stand to make a big splash for a potential CB1. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Wiggins is that kind of player. He lacks a bit of strength given his weight, but his movement skill and ball skills are very impressive.


ROUND 2, PICK 33: DT KRIS JENKINS, MICHIGAN

The Cardinals currently rank bottom four in the NFL in run defense grade. Though we figured that would be a work in progress, their current three starting defensive linemen, Leki Fotu, Jonathan Ledbetter and Kevin Strong, are all set to hit free agency this spring – though Ledbetter is an exclusive right free agent. 

Jenkins could be a big boost to their run defense. He has earned 80.0-plus run defense grades in each of his last two seasons. He’s also one of the strongest players in the country. His negatively graded run defense plays are few and far between.


ROUND 2, PICK 35: IOL TROY FAUTANU, WASHINGTON

You’ll notice a theme in this draft and that is: build through the trenches. Fautanu is currently the Washington Huskies' left tackle but projects inside to guard or center due to his shorter height and length. Yet, he continues to play left tackle for Washington due to his fluid movement skills and explosiveness. For a team that needs help on the interior, Fauntanu could develop into a starting center or guard.


ROUND 3, PICK 65: LB JEREMIAH TROTTER JR., CLEMSON

With Isaiah Simmons no longer on the team and Zaven Collins basically playing edge defender this season (308 snaps along the defensive line compared to just 23 as a box defender), the Cardinals really need a true off-ball linebacker. Trotter Jr. is such a smart player, as he posted 86.7 and 86.9 overall grades the past two seasons. He is undersized (6-foot, 230 pounds), which shows up in coverage, getting off blocks and when tackling, at times. However, it’s not a deal breaker due to his anticipation and solid fundamentals. He can be a steady linebacker presence in the middle for Arizona.


ROUND 3, PICK 74: DT NAZIR STACKHOUSE, GEORGIA

We’re back to the defensive line in the third round, focusing on building through trenches. Jenkins is a stout run defender in his technique and his strength, but Stackhouse does it with his size (Georgia has him listed at 6-foot-3, 320 pounds). He’s not going to give you a ton of pass-rush ability, but he can take up a few gaps in the middle.


ROUND 3, PICK 79: WR TORY HORTON, COLORADO STATE

The Cardinals have a handful of nice receivers in Marquise Brown, Michael Wilson and Rondale Moore, but you can never have too many good ones. Horton is a good one, as he has recorded 14 explosive plays on the season while 96.3% of his catchable passes have been hauled in.


ROUND 4, PICK 101: EDGE GABRIEL MURPHY, UCLA

Truth be told, Murphy’s production feels like someone who can be a late Day-2 pick instead of a steal at the beginning of Day 3. The Cardinals do have Collins, B.J. Ojulari and Dennis Gardeck, but you can never have too many players who can apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks. This season, Gabriel has 44 total pressures and a 20.2% pass-rush win rate.


ROUND 4, PICK 133: TE CADE STOVER, OHIO STATE

Stover is just a solid football player, and he has improved every season he’s been a Buckeyes tight end. He was a linebacker recruit who even played linebacker and defensive end for Ohio State before moving to tight end full-time in 2021. He’s not a crazy athlete, but he’s strong at the catch point and is a plus blocker. He’d also be a good get for special teams.


ROUND 5, PICK 138: LB JAYLAN FORD, TEXAS

Ford is another player who would be a good special teamer, at worst, and someone who could find a role as a rotational linebacker for a team that desperately needs depth in that area. At 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds, Ford has the size teams want to play at linebacker and on special teams. He’s also been a two-year starter for Texas.


ROUND 5, PICK 169: DE JORDAN BURCH, OREGON

Burch is a former five-star, top-20 recruit in the country who may not have lived up to the pass0rush potential he had coming out of high school, but his body type and strength still make him a potential rotational defensive lineman in the league. At 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, he has the length and the size to be a defensive end in Arizona’s 3-4 system. 

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