Cardinals land pass rusher, OL in 2-round mock draft
Over the next couple of months, mock drafts will be all over. As the Arizona Cardinals have the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the conversation doesn’t go very far right now.
But in a two-round mock draft, things could get interesting.
ESPN’s Matt Miller put together a two-round mock draft and it is good for the Cardinals. They land both a top pass rusher and an offensive lineman.
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Round 1: Alabama EDGE Will Anderson
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With two quarterbacks going with the first two picks — something that most certainly could happen — the Cardinals have their choice of the best non-quarterback in the draft.
They go with the pass rusher.
The Cardinals are in an envious position, as new general manager Monti Ossenfort can sit tight and draft the best remaining prospect here. He is essentially guaranteed a shot at Anderson or Georgia’s Jalen Carter. As Ossenfort looks to remake a roster heavy on versatile defenders and small receivers, he could start with the most important spot on defense.
Anderson dominated over the past three years at Alabama, wracking up 34.5 sacks, 184 pressures and 66 tackles for loss. His first-step quickness and relentless motor are reminiscent of Von Miller when the future Hall of Famer was coming out of Texas A&M in 2011. Anderson can line up at defensive end or as a standup rusher, and he would be a tone-setter for a defense desperately in need of an identity.
This should be a home-run pick for Arizona, who badly needs an impact pass rusher on defense.
Round 2: TCU G Steve Avila
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Justin Pugh, Will Hernandez, Cody Ford and Max Garcia will all be free agents this offseason. The Cardinals don’t have a starting guard under contract.
Kyler Murray wants protection up front. This should be a priority.
Many things need remaking in Arizona, but it all starts with the offensive line. Every position outside of left tackle D.J. Humphries could be upgraded and should be looked at closely this offseason. Avila impressed at the Senior Bowl with his power and how well he pulled and trapped in run-game drills. The Cardinals need a coach before we can talk scheme, but Avila fits any offense.