With the 2023 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, it’s time to measure how the latest batch of professional football prospects stacks up against their predecessors and the potential impact the class might have on Arizona sports betting.
The Cardinals used the draft to load up on positions across the board, with nine picks spread across six rounds.
Of those nine players, two were defensive backs. The franchise selected prospects across eight position groups.
The Cardinals’ 2023 class was headlined by lineman Paris Johnson, who was taken with the sixth pick after Arizona traded down in a three-team trade that netted Houston linebacker Will Anderson and Detroit running back Jahmyr Gibbs.
The draft did nothing to improve the Cardinals’ stock on Arizona sports betting apps, as the team has the worst Super Bowl odds in the league at +20000.
Cardinals 2023 NFL Draft Class
- 1st round (6th overall): Paris Johnson (OL)
- 2nd round (41st overall): BJ Ojulari (DE)
- 3rd round (72nd overall): Garrett Williams (DB)
- 3rd round (94th overall): Michael Wilson (WR)
- 4th round (122nd overall): Jon Gaines (OL)
- 5th round (139th overall): Clayton Tune (QB)
- 5th round (168th overall): Owen Pappoe (LB)
- 6th round (180th overall): Kei’Trei Clark (DB)
- 6th round (213th overall): Dante Stills (DT)
A Look Back at 2022 Crop Of Cardinals
During the 2022 draft, Arizona wound up selecting eight players, starting with former Colorado State tight end Trey McBride with the 55th pick.
Using Pro Football Reference’s Weighted Career Approximate Value (wAV), BetArizona.com — your source for Arizona sportsbook promo codes — evaluated how the Cardinals’ 2022 class fared on the field.
Arizona’s 2022 class overperformed based on its draft night ranking — but only moved up from 31st to 29th.
Arizona will likely get more value out of its 2023 picks, as it had a first-round selection and took one additional player.
The Cardinals’ most productive picks a year ago were McBride, third-round defensive end Myjai Sanders and seventh-round defensive back Christian Matthew, all of whom posted 2 wAV apiece in PFR’s measurement.
If Johnson, second-round pick BJ Ojulari and third-round selections Garrett Wiliams and Michael Wilson can match the production of Arizona’s top four picks from 2021 (who have a combined 29 wAV, or 7.25 wAV per pick), then the Cardinals could turn the tide, talent-wise, after a dud of a draft in 2022.
Re-Ranking 2022 NFL Draft Class
Cardinals 2022 Draft Class Among Least Productive
Between the eight players Arizona drafted in 2022, the Cardinals wound up with the fourth-lowest wAV of any team.
Overall, the Cardinals finished ahead of only the L.A. Rams (8 wAV), Philadelphia (7 wAV) and Miami (3 wAV).
But it’s much easier to stomach a less than productive draft when you advanced to the Super Bowl like the Eagles, who remain one of the BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona favorites to win it all this season.
After the 2022 draft, the NFL Network ranked the Cardinals’ class as the 31st best in the league, coming in ahead of New England and behind the No. 30-ranked Washington Commanders.
To put Arizona’s 2022 wAV in comparison to those teams, the Patriots’ class ranked in a tie for 11th alongside Tennessee and Chicago in terms on-field performance. The Commanders tied Las Vegas and Minnesota for the 24th highest draft-class wAV at 11.
Why 2022 Rookie Cardinals Lacked Production
One major reason why Arizona’s 2022 draft class ranked near the bottom league-wide was the lack of a standout performer on the field.
According to Pro Football Reference, there were seven draft picks that matched or exceed the season production of Arizona’s entire class — Sauce Gardner (14 wAV), Marcus Jones and Tariq Woolen (10 wAV apiece), and Drake London, Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas and Cordell Volson (9 wAV apiece).
The Cardinals’ best picks, in terms of wAV from the 2022 draft were McBride, Sanders and Matthew, who earned six of Arizona’s 9 points.
Contrast that with the No. 1 team by wAV in 2022, the Seahawks, who managed to get at least two wAV points from each of the team’s first six picks. Fifth round CB Tariq Woolen led all picks on the team with 10 wAV in 2022, followed by first-round offensive lineman Charles Cross and third-round offensive lineman Abraham Lucas, who had 9 wAV apiece.