NFL mock draft 2022: Arizona Cardinals select Kyler Murray's replacement in first round

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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Most recent 2022 NFL draft projections for the Arizona Cardinals have the team either taking an edge rusher or an offensive lineman with their first-round pick, the No. 23 overall selection, in the first round of the NFL draft.

But one recent pick for the Cardinals really caught our attention.

It had the Cardinals taking a quarterback with the No. 23 pick on Thursday.

The quarterback pick for Arizona came in a recent mock draft from Draft Wire.

Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett was the Cardinals' pick.

Luke Easterling wrote of his pick for the Cardinals: "After the offseason we’ve had, don’t even pretend this couldn’t happen. Russell Wilson, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill are just a few of the names who have been traded over the last month, so nobody is safe. If the Cardinals don’t want to extend Kyler Murray, I’m sure there are plenty of other teams who would send them plenty of draft picks for the right to do so."

More:2022 NFL mock draft: Breaking down every pick in the first round

More:Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray calls out radio host for 'work ethic' comments

The Arizona Cardinals selecting Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft would certainly qualify as a surprise.

In fairness, Easterling's projection for the Cardinals came out on Wednesday last week, one day before Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said there was "zero chance" Arizona traded Kyler Murray.

But the pick still is very interesting for Arizona and it is possible, albeit unlikely for the Cardinals.

It's just hard to imagine Arizona moving on from Murray and starting over at the position, isn't it?

Well, not according to Easterling.

"If a top quarterback prospect like Pickett is still on the board here, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing for the team that took Murray just a year after trading up into the top 10 for Josh Rosen to spend their top pick on a new passer yet again," he wrote in his mock draft. "The Cards could make this selection, then have a bidding war for Murray that brings them a haul of future picks."

Arizona taking a QB at No. 23 would definitely be something to talk about come draft night.

Here are some more conventional recent NFL mock draft selections for the Cardinals in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.

More:NFL mock draft: USA TODAY Sports Network projections for all 32 first-round picks

More:Arizona Cardinals will trade Kyler Murray before season, NFL analyst James Jones says

NBC Sports: Cardinals land Florida State edge Jermaine Johnson

Peter King writes: "I think the Cards would love to get another weapon for Kyler Murray, and if I were GM Steve Keim I’d define that weapon differently. I’d be looking just as fervently at the offensive line that put Murray under so much pressure last season; fixing his protection is as important as getting him a home-run threat—especially when there are no more home-run threats left now the way I mock it. So why Johnson here? Because of the big need to find a pass-rusher two years after the departure of Haason Reddick and a month after the loss of Chandler Jones. I understand the pick, but I’d probably pick Zion Johnson instead."

CBS Sports: Cardinals take Michigan edge David Ojabo

Ryan Wilson writes: "Ojabo tore his Achilles at his pro day in March and that will undoubtedly affect his draft stock. But he is a terror off the edge and he's only been playing football for five years. He's a high-upside prospect who could see the field late in his rookie campaign." Cardinals select Purdue edge George Karlaftis

Rhett Lewis writes: "The Cardinals lost Chandler Jones in free agency. I don't see this as a one-for-one replacement. At 266 pounds. Karlaftis has great power for an edge rusher. That said, I wonder if he could add a little extra to his frame and give Arizona the kind of flexibility J.J. Watt provides on the defensive front. Just food for thought."

More:When it comes to the NFL Draft, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill likes to ask 'What if?'

Walter Football: Cardinals go with Purdue edge George Karlaftis

It writes: "Chandler Jones is gone, so the Cardinals need a new edge rusher. George Karlaftis is a steal at No. 23 overall. Karlaftis was a monstrous pass rusher in his freshman campaign, generating 17.5 tackles for loss."

George Karlaftis is a popular pick for the Arizona Cardinals in recent 2022 NFL mock drafts.

CBS Sports: Cardinals should draft Purdue edge George Karlaftis

Pete Prisco writes: "With the loss of Chandler Jones in free agency, they need to get another edge rusher. Karlaftis is a physical player who can develop into a 10-12 sack type of player." Cardinals pick Texas A&M OL Kenyon Green

Chad Reuter writes: "Green's powerful blocking could land him in the middle of the first round, but the Cardinals would love it if he fell to No. 23. Arizona could play him at guard or tackle (he started at both positions in 2021), depending on how the team plans to get its five best linemen on the field."

More:Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury's influence keeps growing in their draft process

Sporting News: Cardinals take Iowa C Tyler Linderbaum

Jacob Camenker writes: "The Cardinals traded for Rodney Hudson last season, but he missed five games due to injury. Arizona struggled during those games and needs a better contingency at center, as well as a future replacement for Hudson, who will turn 33 in July. Linderbaum is arguably the best player on the board. He's a bit small for a center at 6-2, 296 pounds with 31 1/8-inch arms, but he is a beast on tape. He is super athletic and blocks with excellent technique and toughness."

Boston College offensive lineman Zion Johnson is a popular pick for the Arizona Cardinals in 2022 NFL draft mock draft projections. Cardinals end up with Boston College OL Zion Johnson

Peter Schrager writes: "Incredibly intelligent and versatile, Johnson would immediately find a spot along Arizona's offensive line. I don't see the Cardinals taking a defensive player in the first round for a third straight year -- regardless of who's on the board."

Pro Football Focus: Cardinals land Boston College OL Zion Johnson

Austin Gayle writes: "Johnson is a plug-and-play rookie at guard in the NFL. He is easily the top guard prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft and showed that and then some at the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl. He earned a career-high 84.4 PFF grade in 2021 and played more than 1,400 snaps at left guard and more than 700 snaps at left tackle in his Boston College career."

More:Inside the draft room: Cardinals GM Steve Keim reveals how team builds its Top 120 board

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