Cardinals Criticized By League Circles for Bold NFL Draft Decision

Steve Keim

Getty Images General manager Steve Keim looks on during OTA's in 2019.

The Arizona Cardinals trading their 2022 first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and a third-round pick really came out of nowhere on draft day.

It’s important to note that the Cardinals traded for Brown knowing the impending six-game PED suspension of DeAndre Hopkins. Brown brings the Cardinals experience in being a team’s number one receiver as he caught 91 receptions for 1,008 yards in 2021.

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe wrote an article on May 20 about what Brown’s future could look like. However, sources from NFL circles think the Cardinals got the short end of the stick.

According to Howe, one team executive said, “Baltimore won that one by a lot,” while a source whose team plays the Cardinals in 2022 also told Howe, “Bad trade for them. Good trade for us.”

Baltimore also sent the No. 23 pick to the Buffalo Bills for the 25th pick and a fourth-rounder. At last, the Ravens took Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum with the No. 25 pick.

While the two criticism were anonymous, this isn’t the first time the trade has been criticized.  Shortly after the first round of the NFL draft, former Ravens wide receiver and two-time All-Pro Steve Smith Sr. wasn’t fond of Brown’s skills on “NFL Total Access.”

“Let me clear my throat,” said Smith. “He doesn’t get off the press. I haven’t seen him get off the press yet. He does a great job when you can put him in motion, where you can get a little trickeration going. So that’s Arizona. But when you’re talking about man to man, when you’re machismo and your chest hairs are poking out, that young man ain’t got none.”

Howe Discusses Brown’s Future

After seeing the Cardinals pick up Brown’s fifth-year option, Howe believes the 24-year-old “is in line to be paid like one of the best receivers in the NFL.”

Brown is eligible for an extension ahead of the 2022 season and Howe believes an extension for the receiver could be pressured, especially at a time when teams are giving lucrative deals to wideouts such as Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams and A.J. Brown.

“However, the Cardinals will now be compelled to extend Brown’s contract at a time when the receivers market is booming and favoring the players’ side in terms of leverage. After all, they didn’t give up a first-round pick — or moved back from the first round to the third round if you’d prefer to look at it that way — for a two-year rental, including the fifth-year option for 2023.”

Howe was told by a coach that Brown “will be better in Arizona” due to Kliff Kingsbury’s pass-heavy offense.

Brown also has a history with Kyler Murray as they were teammates during their college days at Oklahoma in 2017 and 2018. The 24-year-old receiver had a helping hand in getting Murray the Heisman trophy in 2018. Both entered the league in 2019 and were drafted in the first round — Murray was drafted first overall by the Cardinals and the Ravens selected Brown with the 26th pick.

Getting Hopkins back into the fold could prove the Cardinals’ decision to trade for Brown was right, according to Howe.

“Brown, who turns 25 next month, is on an upward trajectory and should have a greater statistical output in Arizona, particularly once DeAndre Hopkins returns to monopolize the defense’s attention,” said Howe.

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