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2022 NFL Draft: Arizona Cardinals Recap

Success of Class Hinges on Trade Acquisition

There was a little bit of a longer wait for the Arizona Cardinals to make their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft after their first-round selection was traded to the Baltimore Ravens for wide receiver Marquise Brown.

Brown, a former college teammate of Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray, could add some big-play ability to the Arizona offense, although he had mixed results since being taken in the first round of the 2019 draft. The Cardinals added top tight end prospect Trey McBride to give Murray another option. Arizona was fifth in the NFC in points scored during the 2021 season so the addition of Brown and McBride could make the Cardinals even more dangerous in the coming seasons.

The Arizona Republic

The Cardinals doubled up on defensive ends/outside linebackers with their next two picks. Arizona won 11 games in 2021 and was in contention for the NFC West title all season, so not much help was needed for the Cardinals to return to the playoffs.

According to the Vegas NFL odds the Cardinals (+300) are currently the third pick to win the NFC West Division behind the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.

Let’s check the NFL lines, news, stats, injury reports for Arizona Cardinals Recap. We’ve plenty of NFL odds for you to consider.

Here’s a look at Arizona’s 2022 draft picks.

  • Pick 55 Trey McBride | TE, Colorado State Rams

The Cardinals added another receiving option for Murray by taking the first tight end selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.

McBride provided a glimpse of what was to come when he recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game in the final game of the 2019 season. After finishing with 22 catches in four games in 2020 during a season impacted by the global pandemic, McBride opened his final season with 30 catches and 339 yards in the first three contests. McBride finished with 90 catches and 1,121 yards. He’ll have the chance to learn from Zach Ertz, one of the top tight ends in the NFL.

The sportsbook lists McBride (+4000) as the tight end with the best chance to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Trey Mcbride | Michael Hickey/Getty Images/AFP
  • Pick 87 Cameron Thomas | DE-LB, San Diego State Aztecs

The Cardinals continued to address its defensive front seven. Arizona has had 11 picks in the first three rounds of the last five drafts and five of them have been used for either linebackers or defensive linemen.

Cameron Thomas, another Mountain West product, finished in the top 10 nationally in both sacks and tackles for loss in 2021.

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Thomas has the size to play on either side of the defensive line. It remains to be seen where he lines up, but in the only division in the NFL where three teams had more than 400 points during the 2021 season, getting pressure on the quarterback will be crucial, especially following the departure of sacks leader Chandler Jones.

Much like Thomas, there’s a chance that Myjai Sanders will see time as a linebacker in Arizona’s 3-4 defense.

Sanders’ numbers dropped off a bit from the 2020 season when he had career-high totals of 10½ tackles for loss and seven sacks. Sanders matched his season high with seven tackles in a loss to Alabama in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs.

Sanders dropped some weight when he showed up for the NFL Scouting Combine and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds to go with a 33-inch vertical jump. It seems likely that he would play closer to the 255 pounds he carried as a senior at Cincinnati than at the 228 pounds at the combine.

This pick was also acquired in the trade with Baltimore that brought Brown to the Cardinals.

Keaontay Ingram ran for nearly 1,000 yards in his lone season at Southern California after only carrying the ball 53 times in six games in his final campaign at Texas. Ingram not only averaged 5.8 yards per carry for the Trojans, but also had 22 catches despite missing the last two games of the season. Ingram ran for 138 yards against Notre Dame in a game that was heavily scouted by NFL teams, so that strong performance helped his draft stock.

It didn’t hurt that he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, had a 34½-inch vertical jump and a 10-2 broad jump at 221 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine.

With the departure of Chase Edmonds, the Cardinals were looking for a running back who can also help as a receiver and Ingram could fill that role.

Keaontay Ingram | Harry How/Getty Images/AFP

Lecitus Smith started 38 games at guard in his four seasons at Virginia Tech and helped the  Hokies lead the ACC in rushing offense during the 2020 season. He is being touted as a player with more success as a pass blocker than a run blocker during his college career.

The Cardinals haven’t had much success drafting offensive linemen in recent years, but hope that they found a potential contributor in the sixth round with the 6-foot-3, 314-pound Smith.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Christian Matthew provides size in the secondary. He spent two seasons at Georgia Southern and Samford before playing the 2021 season at Division II Valdosta State.

Matthew had 15 pass breakups for Valdosta State and he will add another option in the secondary after the Cardinals took three defensive backs in the 2021 draft.

  • Pick 256 Jesse Luketa | LB, Penn State Nittany Lions

The Cardinals continue to add to the defense with the selection of the Canadian-born former Penn State defensive end who figures to be a linebacker at the next level. Jesse Luketa had 11 tackles for loss over his last two seasons for the Nittany Lions, but he was not a high-volume tackler.

Although his time of 4.89 seconds in the 40-yard dash was a bit concerning, he did have a 37.5-inch vertical leap at the NFL Scouting Combine. Picking Penn State linebackers or edge rushers is usually a pretty good idea, so perhaps he will give Arizona more depth at linebacker or as a special-teams contributor.

Jesse Luketa | Scott Taetsch/Getty Images/AFP

Marquis Hayes was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school who started 37 games over the last three seasons at Oklahoma. He displayed a physical presence in the interior of the Oklahoma offensive line.

There were some draft analysts who had Hayes as an early third-day selection so this pick has good value and it provides more protection for Murray.

Grading the Draft

There aren’t many picks that jump out one way or the other as the Cardinals took players right around the spot that they were projected to go. The key could be the addition of Brown. one of the fastest players in the NFL.

Keep an eye on how edge rushers Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders fare because that is a position that needed to be addressed.

The Cardinals are viewed as a contender to win the Super Bowl according to many who make NFL picks. It will be worth watching to see how much the rookies contribute during the 2022 season. Let’s check the Super Bowl odds.

GRADE: B

Take a Look Also at the Draft Recaps for the Bills & the Bengals

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