The Arizona Cardinals could ultimately take a pass on Will Anderson Jr. in Round 1 and draft an edge-rusher with the 34th-overall selection.
There are hordes of Arizona Cardinals fans who have made up their minds about who the club should take with the third-overall pick. While some are hoping that general manager Monti Ossenfort will trade back, there are others who have their hearts set on edge-rusher Will Anderson Jr. Would the Cards actually take a pass on the University of Alabama stud, and basically squander away an opportunity to land the draft's best player?
It sure is looking that way. There's a strong possibility that Arizona's front office is going to receive an offer it can't refuse for the highly-coveted selection. Redbirds defensive coordinator Nick Rallis would likely be waving goodbye to Anderson Jr. if that occurs, so Ossenfort may have to wait until Round 2 to acquire a prospect who can strike fear into NFL quarterbacks.
Actually, the Cardinals are in a reasonably favorable position with their second-round choice. The 34th-overall slot could almost be looked at as a late, opening-round pick. It's a fairly deep pool of edge-rushers in the 2023 draft class, so the team's chances of acquiring a talented one just outside of Round 1 are excellent.
The Arizona Cardinals could have several attractive edge-rushers to choose from in Round 2
Will McDonald IV, a pass-rush specialist out of Iowa State University, would be an outstanding addition in Round 2. The 6 foot 4, 240 pounder took home Big 12 co-Defensive Lineman of the Year honors following an incredible campaign back in 2021. In 48 career games, McDonald racked up 125 tackles (40.5 for a loss), 34 sacks, seven passes defensed, and a whopping 10 forced fumbles for the Cyclones.
Felix Anudike-Uzomah is an intriguing pass-rusher out of Kansas State University. In his 27 total appearances for the school, the 6 foot 3, 252 pounder tallied 97 tackles (26.5 for a loss), 20.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles for the Wildcats. Anudike-Uzomah took home First-team All-American honors for his sensational performance last fall.
Auburn University's Derick Hall would also be an interesting option for the Arizona "War Room". The 6 foot 3, 251 pounder was credited with 146 tackles (29.5 for a loss) and 19.5 sacks in 40 career games for the Tigers. Hall was voted First-team All-SEC in 2022 and Second-team All-SEC in 2021.
One more edge-rusher who could be there for the Cards in Round 2 is LSU's B.J. Olujari. The 6 foot 3, 244 pounder registered 128 tackles (25.5 for a loss) and 16.5 sacks for the Tigers. Ojulari was voted First-team All-SEC at the conclusion of last season for his efforts.
(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)