Who should the Arizona Cardinals ultimately select in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft?

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Tech defensive lineman Tyree Wilson (DL49) speaks to the
Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Tech defensive lineman Tyree Wilson (DL49) speaks to the / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Given the unfortunate news surrounding defensive tackle Jalen Carter, the Arizona Cardinals may change their draft strategy.

Jalen Carter was undoubtedly on or near the top of the Arizona Cardinals draft board. But with warrants out for his arrest, general manager Monti Ossenfort and assistant general manager David Sears may need to make a contingency plan. 

Until today, had you asked me who the Arizona Cardinals should ultimately take in the 2023 NFL Draft, I’d have said either Will Anderson Jr. or Carter, with the slight nod going to Anderson given his Chandler Jones-like potential. Now with Carter’s draft status in doubt, the short answer is, barring anything unforeseen, that Anderson should be the pick at number three overall. 

But what if the Chicago Bears snag Anderson with the top pick and the Carter situation gets worse? Now what does Ossenfort do?

The Arizona Cardinals should roll with need in Round 1

As of March 1st, 2023, Ossenfort has five picks. He may get three more if the Cards get their three projected compensatory selections, and if he sends Hopkins out of town, he may get one or two more. 

But if there is no Carter or Anderson available, Ossenfort needs to keep working at injecting youth in this roster, meaning he needs to trade back, acquire more picks, and ultimately select the best defensive player at either defensive tackle, edge, or cornerback. 

Suppose the Cards signed the likes of James Bradberry, Javon Hargrave, and an edge rusher in free agency. It shouldn’t matter. They still need youth and talent at all three positions. 

So if the best player on their board is cornerback Joey Porter Jr., then they ultimately need to take him. If Tyree Wilson is there and sitting atop their board, then he’s their guy. 

With Jonathan Gannon at head coach, the Arizona Cardinals need to go defense. Hopefully, that pick is Anderson Jr. But if he’s not there and Carter’s legal issues intensify, then Ossenfort needs to go with the top defensive player on his draft board at a position of need, regardless of their name. 

Related. Expect Ossenfort, Sears, to monitor Jalen Carter situation. dark