Cardinals land top pass rusher after Bears trade back twice in new Mel Kiper mock draft

The Arizona Cardinals hold the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft and will listen to phone calls to potentially trade back from the pick. However, the Chicago Bears, who hold the No.1 overall pick, have to make their move first.

In a new mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., the Cardinals stay put but the Bears trade back twice, going behind the Cardinals.

The Houston Texans move up from the second pick to first overall to take Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and then the Indianapolis Colts trade up to the second pick to take Ohio state quarterback C.J. Stroud.

That leaves the Cardinals with their choice of every non-quarterback in the draft and they selected Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson.

No change for the Cardinals from my Mock Draft 1.0. Anderson, who had 27.5 sacks and 54 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, is an elite edge player who would help new coach Jonathan Gannon’s defense on Day 1. The former Eagles defensive coordinator is known for his ability to scheme up pressure looks, and he would have a blast moving Anderson around the line of scrimmage. Anderson is a complete defender, the type of guy to build a defense around.

The Cardinals ranked 31st in points allowed per game last season (26.4), so Anderson isn’t the only player this unit needs. If I were Arizona general manager Monti Ossenfort, I’d also bring back free agent tackle Zach Allen so Anderson could have some help next to him. Again, though, this is a great way to start for the new regime.

If the Cardinals’ defense will look anything like the Philadelphia Eagles’ unit from a year ago in terms of positions and players, Anderson would fit perfectly in the rush linebacker position that Haason Reddick plays.

Reddick had 16 sacks, second in the league, from that position in 2022.

Anderson is a more polished, souped-up version of Reddick.

The debate for Cardinals fans is between taking Anderson, Georgie defensive tackle Jalen Carter and trading back.

Anderson seems like a slam dunk of a selection. He gives the Cardinals an elite pass rusher they don’t have. He looks like a natural fit at a position they need. He has the athleticism, production, motor and smarts you want in an edge defender.

How can you pass on that?

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Story originally appeared on Cards Wire