Are rebuilds looming for Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals?

Phoenix, Ariz., United States; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks towards the scoreboard during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-Arizona Republic Nfl Cardinals Vs Seahawks Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals

  • Arizona Cardinals have a shot to earn the Nos. 1 and 2 overall picks in the 2024 NFL Draft: With the Houston Texans‘ first-rounder in tow in addition to Kyler Murray‘s recovery from a torn ACL suffered in December, the Cardinals could have both top picks next year.
  • Los Angeles Rams are tied for the sixth-lowest Super Bowl odds at +6000: After losing many key contributors, the Rams don't appear to be a great candidate to make the playoffs in 2024.
  • Rebuild or retool?: Both teams have their starting quarterbacks established, so maybe each franchise will opt to retool their roster rather than rebuild from scratch.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

With almost a full year to go before the 2024 NFL Draft begins, all eyes are already on the Arizona Cardinals.

That’s because not only are the Cardinals joint favorites to earn the No. 1 overall pick (inverting Super Bowl odds at FanDuel Sportsbook as of 5 am May 9), but they also own the first-round pick of the team they share the lowest Super Bowl odds (+18000) with — the Houston Texans.

The Cardinals' odds include an expectation that quarterback Kyler Murray will miss at least the start of the 2023 season after tearing his ACL in December but also speaks to the Cardinals roster as a whole. Safety Budda Baker, who requested a trade from the team in April, is the only current projected starter on defense who earned a 70.0-plus PFF grade better a year ago. 

For the Texans, while the new coaching staff will believe they can give the team an immediate boost, their low Super Bowl odds are due to earning the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and low expectations for a rookie quarterback.

If the Cardinals strike draft capital gold in the form of owning the top two selections in the 2024 NFL Draft, they would have the ability to select USC QB Caleb Williams, the current favorite to go No. 1 overall, and another top prospect. Or perhaps they could trade one of those picks for future draft capital again as they look to rebuild.

While they signed Murray to a long-term extension in 2022, they do start to have options against the cap after the upcoming season.

The Los Angeles Rams are tied for the sixth-lowest Super Bowl odds at +6000, and are already underway with their rebuild, the only question is how big of a rebuild it needs to be. Two of their three highest-graded players on defense, linebacker Bobby Wagner (90.7) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (86.4) have been jettisoned while interior defender Aaron Donald and cornerback Cobie Durant are the only two current projected starters on defense who earned a 70.0-plus PFF grade last season.

How close they get to the No. 1 overall pick will likely largely depend on what we see out of quarterback Matthew Stafford. The 2009 No. 1 overall pick struggled before an injury ended his 2022 season, but he had produced 77.0-plus PFF grades in all of the previous six seasons.

The problem for the Rams is that, even if Stafford can’t reach the heights of the 2021 season again, he probably plays well enough that they won’t be picking first overall by merit. The Rams have shown themselves not to be afraid to trade when they need to, but a pricey trade-up could very well be required if they want to select Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

Perhaps that’s why they added Georgia’s Stetson Bennett in the fourth round as a developmental quarterback. Viewed as a bit of a surprise pick when he came off the board as early as he did, Bennett is coming off a season where he posted an 88.9 PFF passing grade and lands with the right coaching set up if he is to develop into a starting quarterback in the NFL. If he doesn’t show anything of promise as a rookie, the Rams could still select a quarterback in round one if a third emerges during the 2023 season.

Both of these NFC West teams are in a state of flux for the future, and the 2023 season will dictate the next steps in their rebuilds or retools.


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