It’s been tough to figure out what the Arizona Cardinals will do with the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Other than workouts with draft prospects, there haven’t been any leaks or insight on what the Cardinals’ plans could be in the first round.
ALL the latest Cardinals news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cardinals newsletter here!
MMQB Writer Provides ‘Radar’ on Cards’ First-Round Plans
A fan asked Breer if the Cardinals were interested in drafting a wide receiver in the first round or if they were in on the wideout trade market. The Cardinals lost Christian Kirk in free agency and only brought back A.J. Green on a one-year deal.
“My radar is certainly up for Arizona to take a receiver at 23, and maybe even trade up to get one,” said Breer. “I do think if Alabama’s Jameson Williams were to drop there (and I don’t think he will), the Cardinals wouldn’t stay on the clock for very long. Maybe they’ll even move up to get him—I’ve heard what I’ve heard on their interest, but there’s easy logic here too, and that’s that DeAndre Hopkins generally needs a burner alongside him (that’s why Houston drafted Will Fuller in ’16, and why Andy Isabella has gotten so many chances in Arizona).”
Williams was slated to be a near top 10 pick in this year’s class but suffered a brutal ACL injury in the National Championship game against Georgia. At first, teams were thought to be hesitant to pick a player that is recovering from such a gruesome injury.
But months later, teams that need wide receivers are opening back up to the thought of drafting Williams. He was regarded as one of the most explosive players in college football and was one of the best players in the nation at YAC (yards-after-catch). The 6-foot-2, 189-pound receiver had 75 receptions for 1,507 yards (5th in college football) and 15 touchdowns (3rd in college football). Williams was also the college football leader in touchdown receptions of 40 yards or longer with nine.
According to NFL insider Jordan Schultz, the Cardinals are scheduled to visit Williams this week.
However, teams that pick before the Cardinals such as the Texans, Eagles and Jets have visited Williams. It might be tough to trade up to land Williams.
Williams didn’t run the 40-yard-dash at the NFL combine, but was optimistic about his recovery to the media.
“I’m hearing I’m ahead of schedule,” Williams said. “I’m six weeks out of surgery. I’ve been walking without the brace for two weeks. Without the crutches for three weeks, stably.”
While there’s no guarantee Williams will play in Week 1, there’s plenty of interest in the young receiver’s services. For the Cardinals, coach Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray could have a fun time with Hopkins, Williams, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green on the field in 2022.
Breer Mentions Other Potential Receivers for Cardinals
If the Cardinals don’t find a way to draft Williams, Breer floated three other receiver prospects that could be available with pick 23.
“You’d think that’d make Ohio State’s Chris Olave, and maybe Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore and Memphis’s Calvin Austin people of interest to them,” said Breer.
The Cardinals have hosted Austin for a top-30 visit, but haven’t visited Olave or Moore. Austin posted a career-best 74 receptions for 1,149 yards in 2021 and can play as a receiver and return specialist.
Olave has more draft pedigree, who opted to play his Senior Year after sustaining a season-ending injury in 2021. The Ohio State wideout played alongside first-round talent Garrett Wilson and caught 65 passes for 936 yards. He was a second-team AP All-American and was a first-team All-Big Ten performer.
Moore totaled 190 catches in his last two seasons for Western Michigan. He accumulated 1,292 yards in 2022 and had 10 touchdowns.