NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Arizona Cardinals get it right by trading down

Texas v Texas Tech
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With the NFL Combine underway, NFL Mock Drafts will be shaping up. Here is Mock Draft 2.0 for the Arizona Cardinals in a situation where they trade down.

There is always a possibility that the Arizona Cardinals will trade down in the 2023 NFL Draft. While a trade down means they likely won’t go after and snag Will Anderson Jr, they will add either high-end draft picks to be used either later in the first round in 2023, the first round of the 2024 draft. They could even acquire some middle-round picks for 2023. 

As you can see, the Cards have several options at play if they do trade down. So let’s assume for the purposes of today’s mock that they swap the third overall pick with the Las Vegas Raiders, who will most likely select the best remaining quarterback of the bunch. 

Who is going where in our Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft 2.0? Keep reading to find out. 

1 - Indianapolis Colts (from Chicago)

Bryce Young, QB/Alabama

Bryce Young may be small, but over the past decade, the likes of Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, and Russell Wilson should negate the (lack of) size argument pertaining to incoming quarterbacks. And to be honest, Young has far more upside than Mayfield had, and more experience than our friend, Kyler Murray. 

The Colts have been looking for their next franchise quarterback since Andrew Luck, and given the way new head coach Shane Steichen worked with Jalen Hurts over in Philadelphia, Young could hit the ground running in Indy. Jim Irsay’s organization shouldn’t think twice about this pick. 

2 - Houston Texans

C.J. Stroud, QB/Ohio State

If there is one knock on Stroud, it was his inability to win big games at Ohio State. He also had an arsenal of high end players around him with the Buckeyes, and that’s something the Houston Texans are lacking. 

However, they have a budding back in Dameon Pierce, who Stroud can rely on this season. As it currently stands, they also have Brandin Cooks. And if he sticks around, Stroud will have an experienced target to throw to. 

3 - Las Vegas Raiders (from Arizona)

Will Levis, QB/Kentucky

This is, of course, assuming the Raiders don’t roll with someone like Jimmy Garoppolo or, if everything checks out, Aaron Rodgers. But with a second-year coach in Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas would be smart to find a quarterback the head coach can develop. 

Will Levis’ numbers at Kentucky weren’t impressive. But he checks all the boxes of what you look for in an NFL quarterback. Therefore, the Raiders swap selections with the Arizona Cardinals and snag Levis based on the quarterback’s potential. 

4 - Chicago Bears (from Indianapolis)

Will Anderson Jr., Edge/Alabama

The Chicago Bears are the first team in this latest mock draft that does not need a quarterback, so they’re going with arguably the best defensive player on the board in Will Anderson Jr. Last season, no one on the Bears had more than 4.0 sacks, so Anderson will change that in about half a season, assuming he doesn’t end up like Vernon Gholston. 

Chicago, who finished with a league-worst 3-14 record last season, finished 29th in total defense. So look for Anderson to be the first of many potential draft picks heading to the Windy City. 

5 - Seattle Seahawks

Anthony Richardson, QB/Florida

Many will consider Richardson a reach at fifth overall, and looking at his numbers, he could be the biggest reach in quite a while. But the Seahawks also have a power play, since all signs point to them holding onto Geno Smith. 

If Richardson, a raw player brimming with potential, can sit behind a seasoned veteran who has seen adversity time and again during his NFL career, for at least a season if not longer, he could also be the steal of the draft. And considering how well Seattle played with the team they had last season, it ironically makes sense to draft him fifth overall. 

6 - Detroit Lions

Jalen Carter, DT/Georgia

As it stands, we don’t know what will ultimately happen to Jalen Carter. But until we do, let’s assume that he remains a coveted first round pick. And in this scenario, he falls to the Detroit Lions, where he will make a dynamic duo with Aidan Hutchinson on the defensive line. 

Once upon a time, Detroit was a place where you didn’t want to go thanks to their perpetual losing. These days, who doesn’t want to play for Dan Campbell and Company? If everything goes well with, and they land Carter, the Lions will finally play to the standard of their iconic nickname. 

7 - Arizona Cardinals (from Las Vegas)

Tyree Wilson, Edge/Texas Tech

No, Wilson’s production didn’t match Will Anderson Jr.’s, but the Arizona Cardinals are still getting a dynamic replacement for J.J. Watt here. Last season, no one on the Cards had more than 5.5 sacks besides Watt, and Wilson would likely change that rather fast. 

Wilson is also the type of player who could thrive at outside linebacker in a 3-4, or defensive end in a 4-3. He’s also good at stopping the run behind the line, considering his 27 tackles for loss in 2021 and 2022. 

Overall, Arizona can’t go wrong with Wilson, and he will be a pivotal part of the defense early and often. And better yet, he will join the likes of Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders to form one of the NFL’s better up-and-coming trios at edge. 

dark. Related. Offensive players Cardinals must keep an eye on at the NFL Combine

Source: 2023 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper's first-round pick predictions by Mel Kiper, 

(Statistics and information provided by Sports-Reference and Pro-Football-Reference)