2024 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals full 7-round projection in early-February

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals full 7-round projection in early-February
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals full 7-round projection in early-February / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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The Arizona Cardinals saw their franchise quarterback Kyler Murray start just eight games in 2023. He went 3-5, while the other two quarterbacks who started for the Cardinals (Josh Dobbs and Clayton Tune) combined to go 1-8. In their first season under head coach Jonathan Gannon, they had the league's 24th-ranked offense and 31st-ranked defense.

The team has a number of holes to fill and has $42 million in cap space to fill some of them. They could increase that number to $66 million if they release running back James Connor, and linebacker Kyzir White, and decline the team option for safety Budda Baker. Marquise Brown, the team's number one receiver, will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and it's possible the team will tap into this increased cap number to retain him.

The team also has 12 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft (eight picks in the first four rounds). Kyler Murray is not going anywhere, so the team will use the cap space and picks to build around him. This is a no-trade mock draft, so the Cardinals will select where scheduled on Pro Football Focus (No. 4, 27, 35, 66, 71, 90, 104, 133, 140, 188, 225, and 227).

Round 1, Pick 4: Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

The Cardinals need receiver help in a big way even if they manage to re-sign Hollywood Brown. Rondale Moore showed good progress in 2023, and tight end Trey McBride led the team in receptions. They would love to get Marvin Harrison here, but in my mock simulations, the New England Patriots beat them to the punch a pick early.

LSU receiver Malik Nabers is on the same level as Harrison as a prospect. He's not as big as Harrison, measuring 6-foot and 200 pounds. He may be a split second slower in the 40, but what he does have over Harrison is his route running. It is crisp, clean, and absolutely elite-level, even by NFL standards.

He made a huge jump from 2022 when he hauled in 72 receptions for 1,017 yards and three touchdowns. Last season he recorded 89 catches for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns. He may be the primary reason that his quarterback Jayden Daniels took home the Heisman. He accelerated in and out of breaks to create separation against even the best defensive backs.

He can track the ball and high point it with ease on jump balls thanks to his 40-inch vertical. When he has the ball in his hands he is equally as dangerous, with the ability to dodge would-be tacklers. The one route he struggles to get separation is his vertical routes, but the Cardinals have had great success in the past with possession receivers (Larry Fitzgerald).