Arizona Cardinals: Top 5 sleepers on defense in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Sion Fawkes
3 - Ivan Pace Jr., ILB/Cincinnati
With 20.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks to finish off an illustrious collegiate career, the Miami (OH) turned Cincinnati transfer could be there in the middle rounds. And while I don’t expect the Arizona Cardinals to draft Ivan Pace, he’s more than worth considering if he falls to Day 3 given his tendency to produce.
Sure, it could create a logjam at linebacker, but drafting Pace also means Ossenfort could have picked up yet another potential game-changer. This is, again, considering he freefalls.
4 - Nick Hampton, OLB/Appalachian State
Small school prospects are always worth considering later in the NFL Draft, especially if they produce well throughout their college career. And when healthy, Nick Hampton has proven he can be a force in the backfield, having racked up 17.5 tackles for loss and 11.0 sacks in 2021.
Last season, he could have repeated, but injuries got to him, and he played in just nine games. Nevertheless, he still logged 9.0 stops behind the line and 7.0 sacks. Overall, if head coach Jonathan Gannon opts to throw in more 3-4 looks, and if Hampton drops to the third round, he could be worth considering.