Regardless of how this season ends for the Arizona Cardinals, they'll have plenty of opportunities to reshape their roster during next year's NFL draft.
As of now, the Cardinals have 11 draft picks in 2024 — including two first-rounders, one second-rounder and three third-rounders. For those counting at home, that's six in the top 100. The Cardinals got the Houston Texans' 2024 first-rounder (among other picks) in last week's draft when the Texans traded up from No. 12 to the Cardinals' spot at No. 3 to select pass-rusher Will Anderson Jr.
What could those picks — particularly those two first-rounders — turn into? If next year's draft order unfolds as Caesars Sportsbook projects based on its inverted Super Bowl odds, the Cardinals could control the top of the draft with the Nos. 1 and 2 overall picks. The Cardinals and Texans have the longest odds to win the Super Bowl and aren't expected to have good seasons, meaning Arizona could have the top two picks in the draft.
So the conversation every time the Cardinals lose in 2024 will quickly focus on what's at stake come next April. And until he proves otherwise, the prize of next year's draft is expected to be USC quarterback Caleb Williams, now coached by none other than former Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Here's the catch: The Cardinals have a quarterback — and a pretty good one — in Kyler Murray, who's recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee and might not be ready for the beginning of the season.
Murray's future will debated, speculated and projected with every pass he throws and every run he makes.
ESPN Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and NFL draft insider Jordan Reid discuss Murray's status for the 2023 season, his future with the Cardinals and prospects the Cardinals could be choosing from in 2024.
Where are the Cardinals in their rebuild after the 2023 draft?
With this year's draft in the rear-view mirror, it's pretty evident this is, at minimum, a two-year project for GM Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon to build the roster they want. They used free agency to sign quick fixes at positions of need like pass-rusher, offensive line, wide receiver and cornerback. That was reinforced when Ossenfort did not hand out a contract longer than two years. Through the draft, the Cardinals continued to address those same positions of need, including spending their first-round pick on offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State. They drafted nine players, including four in the top 100 picks.
Arizona has added some intriguing young talent, but roster overhauls typically last longer than one offseason.
But here's the thing with the Cardinals' rebuild: If receiver DeAndre Hopkins isn't traded, the Cardinals' offense could be better than expected. His presence might not lead to a bunch more wins, but the offense should be competitive — especially when Murray comes back.