With the 2022 NFL Draft now over, we can accurately re-assess the depth charts of teams around the NFL. In this series, we'll be taking a look at players who either gained or lost value based on what their team did during the draft.
We start the series with the uber-competitive NFC West.
- Round Two, Pick 55: Trey McBride, TE Colorado State
- Round Three, Pick 87: Cameron Thomas, DE San Diego State
- Round Three, Pick 100: Myjai Sanders, DE Cincinnati
- Round Six, Pick 201: Keaontay Ingram, RB USC
- Round Six, Pick 215: Lecitus Smith, G Virginia Tech
- Round Seven, Pick 244: Christian Matthew, CB Valdosta State
- Round Seven, Pick 256: Jesse Luketa, LB Penn State
- Round Seven, Pick 257, Marquis Hayes, G Oklahoma
Winner: Kyler Murray
The Cardinals’ most significant move during the NFL Draft wasn’t any of the picks they made. Instead, they traded for Marquise Brown, cementing him as the clear WR2 behind DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals also retained AJ Green and Zach Ertz this off-season, and they drafted the top tight end in Trey McBride. They additionally still have Rondale Moore, giving Murray a solid set of receiving weapons to succeed in 2022. If he can’t become a top passer this season, it’s on him, not his surrounding cast.
Loser: Rondale Moore, WR and Zach Ertz, TE
Unfortunately, when a team acquires a potent weapon like Brown, it usually isn’t great for the depth receiving options on that team. Moore had a relatively poor rookie season outside of a few early flashes. His numbers are below:
As you can see, Moore totaled only 54 receptions for 435 yards and a touchdown, plus 18 carries for 76 yards. However, once the Cardinals traded for Ertz, Moore’s production completely disappeared. However, with DeAndre Hopkins now suspended, this could just end up being a wash.
Oddly, Moore had similar target totals between the games with and without Ertz, but his production evaporated after that trade. It just seemed like the Cardinals lost interest in incorporating him into the offense, and that narrative is only more robust now.
As for Ertz, I’m somewhat surprised the Cardinals drafted McBride at all, as they just signed him to a three-year, $31.65 million contract with $17.5 million guaranteed. The Cardinals can’t affordably escape that deal until after 2023, so the two tight ends will split time until then. However, it’s not clear if Kliff Kingsbury plans to run any 12 personnel or if it’s a true competition for one spot between Ertz and McBride. Either way, I believed McBride was ready to contribute right away, and I specifically mentioned in my rookie article I wanted him to go somewhere without an entrenched starter. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if McBride starts to push Ertz by the end of 2022.