The Arizona Cardinals finished the 2022 season dead last in the NFC West. They dealt with injuries all season which will continue into the 2023 season as quarterback Kyler Murray continues to rehab the knee injury sustained last year. Arizona will enter a new era as they fired Kliff Kingsbury and brought in former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon to be the next head coach.
As the Cardinals look to the 2023 NFL draft, they have the No. 3 overall pick. Quarterbacks are all the rage this year at the top of the draft, but Arizona doesn’t need to partake, as Murray is only expected to miss a handful of games to begin the year. That means the team has their eye on trading back or bringing in a talented defender like Will Anderson Jr. or Jalen Carter.
The Cardinals currently have eight draft picks and the front office is going to have to get creative. So far in free agency, Arizona has signed/re-signed six players and had 25 players set to be free agents. Certainly, several depth players will be signed later, but the Cardinals need to address the offensive line, EDGE and cornerback in the draft.
Significant free agency additions
- OT Kelvin Beachum
- OG Will Hernandez
- LB Kyzir White
- K Matt Prater
Significant free agency losses
- WR AJ Green (retired)
- DE JJ Watt (retired)
- OG Cody Ford
- OG Justin Pugh
- C Rodney Hudson
- DL Zach Allen
- CB Byron Murphy
Arizona Cardinals 7-round mock draft
With the Cardinals set to be on the clock at No. 3, let’s look at a 7-round mock draft on PFN where trade offers are on the table.
3. EDGE Will Anderson Jr., Alabama
34. OG O’Cyrus Torrence, Florida
66. LB Noah Sewell, Oregon
103. RB Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh
114. CB Darius Rush, South Carolina
133. C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
145. WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
168. CB Garrett Williams, Syracuse
I had a tempting trade offer for No. 3. The Houston Texans offered No. 12, No. 33, No. 65 and two 2024 first-round picks for the selection after taking QB Bryce Young at No. 2. The real-life Cardinals likely would take advantage of this for their rebuild. I rejected it because it involved so many pieces. Instead, I held strong at No. 3 and took Will Anderson Jr from Alabama.
After addressing the glaring need at EDGE, Torrence fell to the Cardinals at No. 34. He has a lot of experience at Florida and has blocked for a scrambling quarterback. Arizona prioritizes its linebackers to be versatile, and Sewell should be able to slot into either middle linebacker spot, but they could move him around once he gets to the next level.
I accepted my first offer of the mock draft moving back from No. 96 (and including No. 180). I sent the picks to the Chicago Bears for No. 103 and No. 133. I used No. 103 to select Israel Abanikanda out of Pitt. It could be a little early for running back depth behind James Conner, but I like the upside. I then traded No. 105 and No. 213 to the Carolina Panthers for No. 114 and No. 145.
Following Abanikanda, I went with likely depth pieces that have potential to develop. They may not be important pieces in their rookie years but could contribute in the future. I picked up two cornerback depth pieces, some offensive line help and a wide receiver to culminate the draft.