Cardinals Draft Stanford WR Michael Wilson, Trade 96th pick to finish Day 2

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

By Zach Alvira

The Arizona Cardinals wrapped up the second day of the 2023 NFL Draft by adding depth to its wide receiver room and more picks in the later rounds.

Michael Wilson, a 6-foot-2, 213-pound wideout from Stanford was taken by the Cardinals with the No. 94 overall pick in the third round. General Manager Monti Ossenfort then turned the Cardinals’ No. 96 compensatory pick into one fourth-round pick and two in the fifth, one of which was sent to the Lions Thursday.

The fourth-round pick is No. 122 overall, while the two fifths are 138 and 168, respectively.

Wilson said he was surprised to have been picked as high as he was Friday night. The wideout battled through an injury-riddled career at Stanford, all of which he said were described by doctors as “random” and “unlikely” incidents.

“It was definitely a struggle. A lot of it was out of my control,” Wilson said. “Honestly, I’m really shocked I got drafted by the Cardinals. I was talking to my agent, and I felt like that was one of the teams we were really focused on getting drafted by … but this is honestly a team I wouldn’t have put in my top 10 to draft me.”

Part of Wilson’s admiration for the Cardinals stems from a connection with receivers coach and Chandler native Drew Terrell, who graduated from Stanford and wore the same number (4) as Wilson.

Even with the connection, Wilson had his doubts as to whether he would end up in Arizona. He brought an open mindset into the draft but is happy the way it all unfolded Friday night.

“The team that was going to show the most belief and draft me first, I’m all for it,” Wilson said. “I couldn’t be more excited that (the Cardinals) have given me the opportunity to become a Cardinal.”

Wilson played all 13 games for Stanford as a freshman out of Chaminade High School in California, where he was rated a four-star recruit. He caught 14 passes for 126 yards and had a single touchdown.

As a sophomore, he caught 56 passes for 672 yards and five touchdowns, establishing himself as one of the top wideouts for the Cardinal heading into his junior year. But his 2020 season was cut short due to a foot injury that kept him out most of the 2021 season, too.

He was able to return for the team’s last four games before missing the second half of the 2022 season after he broke his collarbone against Notre Dame.

Wilson said suffering those injuries was difficult to process. But he aimed to come back stronger with each incident and prove he was still an NFL-caliber receiver.

“I wouldn’t change a thing because it molded me into the man I am now,” Wilson said. “I know going through adversity, being battle tested … I know what it takes to make it out on the other side.”

Ossenfort praised Wilson for his size and toughness while at Stanford. He also highlighted his week he had in Mobile, Ala. at the Senior Bowl. 

Wilson comes in as a player that can help make a difference for the Cardinals, especially with the status of DeAndre Hopkins still up in the air despite Ossenfort saying Thursday he was a Cardinal.

No matter what comes of the trade rumors surrounding the All-Pro wideout, Ossenfort believes Wilson fits the bill as a high-character player he and the coaching staff is looking for.

“An impressive kid,” Ossenfort said of Wilson. “Another guy our scouts had identified as having high football character, a guy we wanted to add to our football program.”

Wilson said he is excited to be a member of the Arizona Cardinals. In high school, he was a fan of Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and heard stories of how competitive he was from a Stanford friend that transferred from Oklahoma.

He aims to earn the respect of Murray, the rest of the players and the coaching staff. And he believes he has what it takes to do just that.

“I think you’re getting a big receiver who can run, whose got great technique, reliable hands. Kind of a jack of all trades,” Wilson said. “I think you guys are getting a complete receiver but most importantly a guy who loves the game of football and will do whatever it takes to become the best player I can be.”