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Arizona Cardinals select Mizzou’s Darrius Robinson in first round of NFL Draft

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort played riverboat gambler in his first draft last season, wheeling and dealing picks during the first round at a dizzying pace.

This time around, he didn’t need to get fancy.

The Cardinals selected receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. with the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night, hoping the Ohio State star can be the team’s leading playmaker for quarterback Kyler Murray.

“Kyler’s awesome,” Harrison said. “You look at his record from high school and he’s always won, and that’s the kind of guy I want to play with. He’s just so dynamic of a quarterback and I just want to go in there and make his job easier.”

The Cardinals also took Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson with the No. 27 overall pick. The 6-foot-5, 296-pounder had 8 1/2 sacks in his final college season with the Tigers and was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Harrison has drawn comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald, who was arguably the greatest player in the team’s history after amassing more than 17,000 yards receiving over 17 seasons before retiring in 2020.

Ossenfort said he received multiple text messages from an excited Murray following the Harrison pick.

“With Marvin, it’s maturity, accountability and dependability,” the GM said. “He checks all those boxes. He’s been around football his whole life, and we’re really excited about the way he approaches his job.”

Harrison has an impressive bloodline. He’s the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison, though considerably bigger than his dad, possessing a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism. He caught 67 passes for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final season with the Buckeyes.

The receiver said having a dad who knew about the NFL made the draft process much easier.

“I love where my body is right now,” Harrison said. “I love where I’m at going into the season, going into mini-camp, going into training camp.”

Arizona was in a prime position to get one of the draft’s top non-quarterbacks. The teams with the top three picks all needed QBs, but the Cardinals are set at the position with Murray, who has a $230.5 million, five-year deal that could keep him in Arizona through 2028.

Robinson’s selection late in the first round was no surprise considering defensive line was an area of need.

“Versatility,” Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said. “We’re going to put him everywhere. Violent. Really good in the run and pass game.”

Robinson, who is a Michigan native, was one of the few players remaining in the NFL’s green room for draft picks, but said he wasn’t worried that he’d fall out of the first round.

“I wasn’t antsy, I knew AZ was the one for me since the beginning of this process,” Robinson said. “They were one of the first teams that met with me at the combine. One of the first teams that met with me at the Senior Bowl.”

It was the first two picks of a vital draft for the Cardinals, who have nine more picks over the next three days. Arizona’s had a 4-13 record in each of the past two seasons.

Ossenfort chose to use the No. 4 pick instead of trading down for potentially more selections.

It was a different strategy from his first season with the club, when the Cardinals started with the No. 3 overall selection but made multiple trades on draft night before settling on the No. 6 pick, which was used to select offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr.

Johnson — who also played at Ohio State — started all 17 games at right tackle last season. Harrison said the two have texted back and forth over the past few months, excited about the possibility of playing together.

Harrison should also have an immediate impact, especially considering the Cardinals lack of elite receivers. Tight end Trey McBride had a breakout season in 2023 with 825 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Michael Wilson also had an encouraging rookie season with 565 yards receiving.

But the No. 1 receiver spot is up for grabs and the Cardinals certainly hope Harrison can seize it.

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