Arizona Cardinals could acquire an edge-rusher during third day of draft
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals could target someone who can apply pressure from the edge when the final day of the 2023 NFL Draft rolls around.
The 2023 NFL Draft is roughly a week away, and fans of the Arizona Cardinals are counting the minutes. First-year general manager Monti Ossenfort is armed with the third-overall pick, and the team's loyal followers have their hearts set on a highly-touted edge-rusher. Unfortunately, there's a strong possibility that the Cards will trade down, a maneuver that could effectively take them out of the running for the University of Alabama's Will Anderson Jr.
Passing on an opportunity to bring Anderson Jr. into the mix will put an enormous amount of pressure on Ossenfort. There will be additional edge-rushers to choose from, but Arizona's GM will quickly realize that none are loaded with the sure-fire potential that Anderson Jr. possesses. Nevertheless, a suitable alternative could be there for the taking, quite possibly during the latter stages of the draft .
At the present time, the Cardinals will have four selections to work with during the draft's third and final day. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Ossenfort will use at least one of the choices on a youngster who can wreak havoc on the league's quarterbacks.
Arizona Cardinals could address a weakness on defense during the latter stages of draft
With their fourth-round pick (105th-overall), the Cards would be fortunate to have the University of Missouri's Isaiah McGuire fall into their laps. Over the past two campaigns, the 6 foot 4, 266 pounder racked up 95 tackles (28 for a loss) and 14.5 sacks for the Tigers. New Arizona defensive coordinator Nick Rallis would be getting a bargain at this point of the draft with McGuire, a 21-year-old who was voted First-team All-SEC last fall.
When the fifth round rolls around, the Cardinals could have their eyes on Eastern Michigan University's Jose Ramirez. As a senior last season, the 6 foot 2, 251 pounder tallied an impressive 12 sacks, and was also credited with 66 tackles (19.5 for a loss) for the Eagles. That excellent performance earned Ramirez Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Mid-American Conference.
The Cards own a pair of sixth-round selections, the first of which could be used on the University of Kansas' Lonnie Phelps. In 13 games for the Jayhawks, the 6 foot 3, 244 pounder totaled 57 tackles (11.5 for a loss) and seven sacks. One year before, Phelps registered 30 tackles (13.5 for a loss) and eight sacks in 11 appearances for the Miami University Redhawks.
Tyrus Wheat, a senior out of Mississippi State University, would be an outstanding addition at the 213th-overall slot of the sixth round. In his three collegiate campaigns, the 6 foot 2, 265 pounder tallied 129 tackles (25.5 for a loss),17 sacks and three interceptions for the Bulldogs. Wheat is a high-motor performer who could find a niche as a situational pass-rusher at the professional level.
(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)