Great teams are built through the NFL Draft, and new Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort knows that.
Ossenfort's background with building strong teams in New England/Tennessee have helped him land his new gig in the desert, and his first offseason will feature a coveted No. 3 overall pick in the palm of his hands.
"Well, it's exciting, I hope we don't pick third overall again, that's for one. The benefit is that we're going to be ready to pick a premium player that's going to be able to come in here and have an impact on our team. That's the benefit," Ossenfort told reporters at his introductory press conference.
"The other benefit is there could be calls on that pick and we're going to operate at every step along the way. We're going to do what's best for the team so if we get a chance to drop back and pick up additional picks that will help build the team, we're going to entertain that. We're in a great position and I would say the same for every pick of that round. There's going to be action. The phone rings in the draft. The phone will ring. We'll be ready to take a good player and we'll be ready to listen to offers too, so we're in a great position with that pick.”
Ossenfort won't be alone in his effort in helping forge Arizona's future through the draft, thanks to newly hired assistant general manager Dave Sears. Sears spent some time with the Detroit Lions and played a major role in piecing together pivotal young talent that helped turn a typical laughing stock squad into a team that nearly made the postseason in such a short turnaround.
There's hope that can happen in Arizona.
"As college scouring director, Sears was responsible was overseeing much of the Lions' drafts in recent years. Under general manager Brad Holmes, the Lions have had two of the best drafts in the NFL," said the Detroit Free Press.
"They took right tackle Penei Sewell, a Pro Bowl alternate, with their first-round pick in 2021, and landed top receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth round. Last year, the Lions drafted defensive starters Aidan Hutchinson (No. 2 overall), Kerby Joseph (third round) and Malcolm Rodriguez (fifth round), and have two more promising picks in Jameson Williams and Josh Paschal."
Dave Birkett - the author of the article - also mentions that Sears was largely responsible for scouting the SEC prior to his rise to director of college scouting in 2019.
It is notable that two of the top non-quarterback prospects in the draft in Georgia DL Jalen Carter and Alabama EDGE Will Anderson play in the SEC and are likely to be available for the Cardinals with the third pick.
Former general manager Steve Keim was known to be extremely hit or miss when it came to his drafted prospects. Though the Cardinals have had some success bringing in veterans via free agency and trades, that hasn't led to short or long-term sustainability.
Now - with a heavy emphasis on scouting taking over Arizona's front office - the ability to draft, mold and keep their own talent gives hope that things can turn around for the Cardinals.