Monti Ossenfort says ‘the hay is in the barn’ as draft day approaches

Pleased with how his personnel staff has worked together after figuring out things on the fly last year, Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort and Co. will now use the next week to fine tune the draft board, which Ossenfort said was 95-98% complete, and be prepared for the always anything-can-happen three days of the draft.

“The hay is the barn; that’s a good way to put it so we’re in a good spot,” he said. “Now I’d say for the next week is when we do turn our attention to scenarios and (say) this guy goes here, and we use the mocks to take a look at that. I don’t know that anybody knows anything more than we know. I think we’re all just waiting.

“We’ll sit there and watch TV just like you guys do as those picks come across the board. I think for the next week what we’ll do is we’ll throw different scenarios at each other (like) how will we react if this guy’s available or if this guy’s not available. That’s what really this last week is for me.”

Reflecting on how things developed a year ago, Ossenfort said, “I can’t emphasize enough just the importance of the guys around me. Last year, everyone was prepared, everybody knew what their role and responsibility was. It was scenarios that we had talked through and so we were ready. That clock is always in the back of your head, and you see it, it’s ticking away.

“It’s really big up in the draft room so it’s always there. It’s always present, but I think preparation is the key and we’ll be ready to go again this Thursday night just like we were last year.”

Finally, with the incessant outside chatter of debating whether the Cardinals should pick at No. 4 in the first round or trade out, the general manager was asked if there is a scenario he prefers.

He admitted, “I have an idea. I have an idea. I think when that gets firmed up here is going to be over the next week as we talk through these scenarios. I think up until this point and up until the next couple hours when we polish out that last five percent, I think it’s about getting our board right and it’s getting comfortable with where, both vertically and horizontally, guys are on our board.

“Once we get through that point, then we can start talking about what different opportunities may or may not mean.”

With three choices in the first 35, five in the first 71, six in the first 90 and seven in the first 104, anything can happen, but it always takes two to tango when it comes to trades.

Ossenfort emphasized, “It’s one of those things where I could say it gives us a lot of flexibility, but as with anything, you need a partner. You need to find someone who’s willing to move and we have to be willing to move one way or the other, up or down and you have to find a dance partner on the other end. I could come in here and say, ‘Hey, we want to move all around,’ but if nobody wants to move, then we can’t.

“And I could say, ‘Hey, we want to sit here and stand pat with all 11,’ and somebody comes with an offer that changes my decision. That’s not entirely up to us with all those picks, so that’s why we have to just stay flexible and stay ready to go no matter what comes our way.”

The first round of the 2024 NFL draft begins at 5 p.m. Arizona time on Thursday, April 25.

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.


Story originally appeared on Cards Wire