NFL Mock Draft 6.0: Arizona Cardinals do not take Anderson third overall
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals are likely to trade down and collect more draft picks. But what if they stood pat at third overall and did not take Will Anderson Jr?
In many cases, the Arizona Cardinals will draft Will Anderson Jr. with the third overall pick if they didn’t trade down. And most mock drafts you cross involve the top two teams in the draft taking a quarterback - the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans - but what if Houston went with edge instead of quarterback?
Farfetched? Not really. In 2006, running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Vince Young were considered likely choices for Houston at number one overall, but they instead rolled with defensive end Mario Williams.
Could the same thing happen in 2023 with the second overall pick? And if so, where does that leave the Cards?
Mock Draft 6.0: Arizona Cardinals don’t land Anderson
1 - Carolina Panthers: Bryce Young, QB/Alabama
C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson have been two hot topics surrounding the Carolina Panthers. In the end though, they go with Bryce Young, whose experience performing at a high level in the SEC will give him an edge over the other two.
2 - Houston Texans: Will Anderson Jr., Edge/Alabama
For this to occur, Houston will be looking to trade into the top ten with their second pick in the first round, giving them a good chance to draft a quarterback with that selection. Therefore, they go with an edge rusher in Will Anderson Jr., negating the Cardinals an opportunity to draft who may become the game’s next elite pass rusher.
3 - Arizona Cardinals: Devon Witherspoon, CB/Illinois
With Anderson out of the picture, the Cards stay at third overall since quarterback-needy teams won’t feel as much urgency to trade up unless they particularly like one name over the others. But let’s assume that, for the sake of this mock draft, that they don’t.
With no trade partners, the Cards instead address cornerback with Devon Witherspoon. The former Fighting Illini saw vast improvement in 2020, when he recorded two interceptions in seven games. In 2021, he failed to record a pick, yet deflected nine passes.
However, 2022 was a different story, and he finished the year with three picks, 97 return yards, and 14 passes deflected. Witherspoon proved capable of elite production last year, and if he comes to the desert and lines up alongside Marco Wilson, he could become a key contributor early.
Source: Lance Zierlein 2023 NFL mock draft 3.0: Ravens select C.J. Stroud after trade; Patriots pick QB by Lance Zierlein, NFL.com