With the 2023 NFL Draft drawing closer to the day, various analysts and experts are beginning to unveil their latest mock draft predictions. While we’ve seen various iterations roll out over the past few weeks, these latest releases should be indicative of where each NFL team’s mind is at heading into night one on Thursday, April 27.
Ahead of the first round, several mock draft experts have listed their predictions for the Arizona Cardinals. We’ll break down what each one is saying in regard to the Cardinals’ first and second-round draft selections later this week.
First round consensus
Kiper/McShay dueling mock: Will Anderson, Jr., DE, Alabama
Peter King: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon (trade down to 11)
Matt Miller: Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
Ryan Wilson: Will Anderson, Jr., DE, Alabama
PFF: Will Anderson, Jr., DE, Alabama
Adam Caplan: Will Anderson, Jr., DE, Alabama
Chad Reuter: Will Anderson, Jr., DE, Alabama
The Cardinals sit at No. 3 overall (for the moment), and there seems to be a pretty fair consensus that Arizona will go defense in the first round. With Kyler Murray sidelined for the season, it makes sense for them to stock up on defensive talent in this draft.
If they stand pat at No. 3, it seems likely they’ll either opt for Anderson Jr. or Wilson, depending on who the Houston Texans select before them. Or, as Peter King aptly notes, the Cardinals could very well opt to trade the number three pick (likely to a QB-needy team) and still go defense later down.
With safety Budda Baker making it known he wants out of Arizona, the Cardinals’ 24th-ranked pass defense (230.3 YPG allowed) could get a nice talent in replacing him by drafting Gonzalez out of Oregon.
There has been some recent talk about them going with an offensive lineman, as they have talked with an inordinate amount of them this draft season. It’s a possibility, especially if they trade down a few spots.
Second round consensus
Kiper/McShay dueling mock: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
Matt Miller: Anton Harrison, OT, Oklahoma
Ryan Wilson: Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
Chad Reuter: Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland
Arizona drafts again at No. 34 in the second round, and they could continue to bolster their backend unit by drafting either Turner or Banks. Matt Miller and Ryan Wilson both think an offensive lineman is a way to go here, and it makes sense given the aftermath of Murray’s injury.
The Cardinals ranked 23rd in sacks surrendered per game last season (2.7), and the goal in mind should be to protect their franchise quarterback at all costs once he’s back on the field. Fortifying the o-line by potentially selecting Anton Harrison or Dawand Jones is also a savvy way to add depth without hurting the checkbook via signing a veteran in free agency.