Arizona Cardinals: Making the case to pass on Will Anderson Jr.

Sep 17, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) and
Sep 17, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) and / Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Will Anderson Jr. is arguably the best defensive player in the 2023 NFL Draft. But the Arizona Cardinals would be wise to pass up on him.

For context, I will celebrate if the Arizona Cardinals turn in their draft card with Will Anderson Jr.’s name on it come April 27th. But I will celebrate even more if the Redbirds passed on the marquee pass rusher, traded down, and accumulated as much draft capital as they could get. 

In my latest mock draft, I got the Cards pulling off a blockbuster with the Green Bay Packers. Yes, the Packers, who will be so enamored with Will Levis that they’ll give up some serious trade compensation to land him at third overall, passing on the ultra-athletic but raw Anthony Richardson. 

This also means Arizona would be passing on Will Anderson Jr, but it’s really not a bad idea. Why? Hey, the Cardinals need help in many different areas, and while they have eight draft picks, they should ideally strive to attain as many in the Top 100 as they can get this season.

Arizona Cardinals must strive for quality and quantity in 2023

Of course, if the Cards traded back to the fourth overall pick with the Indianapolis Colts for ransom identical to the one I outlined in my mock, then by all means, make the trade, draft Anderson, and get those picks. But chances are, Arizona would need to trade down to the middle of Round 1 to maximize that ransom, whether it’s with Green Bay, or someone else. 

Currently, the Cards need an edge rusher, but they could also use another defensive tackle, a corner, a center, another receiver if they move DeAndre Hopkins, and a running back to complement James Conner. That’s five positions the Cardinals need to fill. 

Sure, they could find diamonds in the rough later. But really, why take the risk? Strive to get as many players that fit the above positions in those Top 100 picks, preferably NFL-ready prospects, and fill this roster with young talent. 

They have greater odds to do this if they pass on Will Anderson Jr. And while they would be giving up on an elite-quality player, if they strive for a blend of quality and quantity in 2023, they can go for elite quality in 2024 and beyond. 

Related. Cardinals could be stuck in a Catch-22 with division rival on draft day. dark

Source: Cardinals Don't See NFL Draft as Will Anderson-or-Bust by Donnie Druin,