LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers runs the 40-yard dash during...

LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers runs the 40-yard dash during LSU's NCAA football pro day in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, March 27, 2024. Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals' rebuilding project is about to hit one of its most important moments.

Second-year general manager Monti Ossenfort has been building toward this draft since he was hired in January 2023, and the Cardinals currently have 11 picks, including six selections in the top 90.

It's a great opportunity to add more elite talent to a roster that could use it. The Cardinals finished with a 4-13 record last season, but were much more competitive after quarterback Kyler Murray returned from a torn ACL that sidelined him for roughly 11 months.

The Cardinals have two picks in the first round, including the No. 4 and No. 27 selections. Arizona has been linked to some of the draft's premier wideouts, including Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze, but Ossenfort has been coy about the team's thought process.

Trading down is also an option, though the Cardinals don't appear to have a preference.

“Every mock draft out there has everything figured out, what's going to happen, and quite honestly, I don't believe much of any of them,” Ossenfort said. “We pick at four. That means we don't know what will happen at one, two and three.”

The Cardinals made several relatively under-the-radar moves during free agency, adding players such as offensive lineman Jonah Williams, linebacker Mack Wilson, defensive lineman Justin Jones and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting.

Washington wide receiver Jalen McMillan, left, greets fellow wide receiver...

Washington wide receiver Jalen McMillan, left, greets fellow wide receiver Rome Odunze during Washington's NFL Pro Day, Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Seattle. Odunze did not participate in the day. Credit: AP/John Froschauer

Targeting Harrison, Nabers or Odunze with the No. 4 pick certainly makes sense considering the Cardinals don't have a ton of experienced playmakers in the passing game. Tight end Trey McBride had a breakout season in 2023 with 825 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Michael Wilson also had an encouraging rookie season with 565 yards receiving.

Still, Arizona could use a true superstar in the passing game to help Murray, who threw for 1,799 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games after his return from the knee injury.

Ossenfort said this year's receiver group is deep and talented.

“They come in different shapes and sizes and ultimately we sometimes can overcomplicate football,” Ossenfort said. "A receiver's job is to get open and to catch the ball. They look different, they run different, there's big and small but at the end of the day, if they guy can get open and catch the ball, he's going to bring value.

Arizona Cardinals head football coach Jonathan Gannon talks with reporters...

Arizona Cardinals head football coach Jonathan Gannon talks with reporters during an NFC coaches availability at the NFL owners meetings, Tuesday, March 26, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. Credit: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack

“I think there's a number of receivers in this year's draft who can do that.”

NEEDS

The Cardinals probably need the most help at receiver, but could also use cornerbacks and depth on both the offensive and defensive lines.

DON'T NEED

The quarterback situation is set for the foreseeable future with Murray, who signed a $230.5 million, five-year contract before the 2022 season. That should keep the 2019 No. 1 overall pick in the desert through 2028. They also added backup Desmond Ridder, who started for the Falcons last season.

2023 SUCCESS

Ossenfort's first draft in 2023 looks like it was solid. No. 6 overall pick Paris Johnson Jr. started every game at right tackle and could move to left tackle after franchise stalwart D.J. Humphries was released following a knee injury late last season.

Linebacker BJ Ojulari, cornerback Garrett Williams and Wilson — the rookie receiver — also had good moments. Even in the late rounds they were able to add potential value with cornerback Kei'Trel Clark and defensive lineman Dante Stills.

Stills, a seventh-round selection, finished with 47 tackles, including 3 1/2 sacks.

PLAYING FAVORITES

Ossenfort and second-year coach Jonathan Gannon have both said they value the opinions of their current players when evaluating draft prospects.

That's led to some good-natured banter.

Cardinals safety Budda Baker, who played in college at Washington, backed one of his fellow Huskies in Odunze on social media. “ Rome = WR#1 #GoDawgs!! That is all. ”

Then Johnson — the second-year offensive lineman — chimed in with a response. Johnson played at Ohio State, which is where Harrison played his college ball. “ That’s a funny way to spell Marvin’s name.. lol #GoBucks."

More football news

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME