Most people have quarterbacks penciled in as the first two picks of the 2023 NFL draft at the end of this month. One way or another, the first two selections are expected to be Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud to go to the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans in either order.
However, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein has a surprise at No. 2 in his new mock draft and, even with that, the Arizona Cardinals do not trade the third overall pick.
Zierlein has the Panthers taking Young. No surprise there.
However, he has the Texans selecting a pass rusher, and it isn’t the consensus top pass rusher in Alabama’s Will Anderson. They take Texas Tech edge defender Tyree Wilson.
The Cardinals, who pick third overall, are in a perfect position for a team to trade up and get Stroud.
No one does. The Cardinals take Anderson, who is a slam dunk of a pick.
If the Texans pass on a quarterback at No. 2 overall, this slot could become a hot spot for teams looking to trade up for Stroud. For now, we will stick with the top pass rusher on the board.
The next surprise is having the Baltimore Ravens trading quarterback Lamar Jackson to the Indianapolis Colts and the Ravens get the No. 4 pick, which they use to draft Stroud.
Even if Young and Stroud are the first two picks in the draft, there is a growing belief that the Cardinals will trade the third pick. Some team is likely going to want to select Florida’s Anthony Richardson.
If Stroud is still on the board, there is basically no way the Cardinals don’t trade the pick, whether that is another team, the Colts or even the Ravens moving up a spot after getting the fourth pick from Indy.