Cardinals Not Committed To Trading Out Of No. 4; Team Eyeing Marvin Harrison Jr.?

Viewed by many as the gateway for the Giants or Vikings (or Broncos or Raiders) to trade up for a quarterback, the Cardinals’ No. 4 draft slot could certainly bring back a nice haul for a rebuilding team.

This Cardinals regime did opt to move down last year, but rookie GM Monti Ossenfort decided to come back up to draft Paris Johnson Jr. at No. 6. Arizona has intriguing options coming into the draft, as offers should be expected to come in for its first-round pick. But the team is not committed to moving down, per’s Albert Breer.

[RELATED: Cardinals Open To Moving Down From No. 4]

Staffers around the league are not convinced this is an automatic trade-down team, with Breer then pointing to Marvin Harrison Jr. as a player who would be a “wheelhouse pick” for a Cardinals team that needs to upgrade at wide receiver. Amid an unusually structured pre-draft program, Harrison visited the Cardinals recently. Of course, these rumblings could also be a call for other teams to up the ante in trade proposals. But Arizona obviously needs WR help.

Having cut DeAndre Hopkins last year and having seen Marquise Brown join the Chiefs in free agency — after the 2022 trade acquisition discussed an extension last year — the Cardinals are in dire need of weaponry for Kyler Murray. Viewed by many as the draft’s best non-quarterback, Harrison would qualify as the team’s biggest receiver investment since the 2004 draft brought Larry Fitzgerald to the desert at No. 3 overall. Trading Rondale Moore for Desmond Ridder, the Cardinals have 2023 third-rounder Michael Wilson, Zach Pascal, Chris Moore and ERFA Greg Dortch as their top receivers. It is within reason the team will want to add more than one player here during the draft.

Harrison made the rare move of not participating at the Combine or Ohio State’s pro day, communicating to teams a plan to train for an NFL offseason rather than pre-draft workouts. Teams are believed to have been fine with the second-generation wide receiver standout’s plan — one that illustrates how well-regarded his college tape is — and Breer adds Buckeyes coaches are believed to have clocked the 6-foot-3, 209-pound player in 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

The top-tier WR prospect would check off a key box for the Cardinals, who had been linked to Johnson before last year’s draft. Arizona collected a 2023 second-rounder and 2024 first- and third-round picks from Houston in moving from 3 to 12 last year. It cost the Cards their own 2023 second-rounder and a 2023 fifth to move back up to 6 for Johnson. But Arizona later moved down in Round 2 to pick up more draft capital, giving Tennessee Will Levis.

Due to the deals with the AFC South clubs, the Cardinals go into this draft with two first-round picks, a second and three thirds. If the Cardinals are willing to move out of No. 4 and then trade back up (perhaps with the Chargers at 5), Ossenfort could forge a near-identical trade route and still end up with Harrison.

That best-of-both-worlds scenario would stand to appeal to a Cardinals team still squarely in rebuild mode. If the team takes an offer from the Giants or Vikings (or someone else) and does not opt to move back up, it would risk — barring a drop to New York’s No. 6 slot — missing out on the Harrison-Rome OdunzeMalik Nabers WR tier (the Washington and LSU prospects also visited). But this is viewed as another deep receiver draft, putting the Cardinals in a good spot no matter how they proceed.

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