Top 3 can’t miss prospects the Arizona Cardinals must consider in 2023 NFL Draft

Arkansas v Mississippi State
Arkansas v Mississippi State / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals have three picks in the Top 66, and if they can hit big on all three selections, it will serve as a major boost moving forward.

The Arizona Cardinals must draft better in 2023 than they did during the Steve Keim era. Keim’s ill-fated draft picks and constant trading for older, established talent gave Arizona small windows of opportunity, and it ended up with a decade of underachieving teams. 

With general manager Monti Ossenfort and assistant David Sears at the helm, the Redbirds have a chance to turn a new page. But to do this, they MUST at least get their top three picks right. 

3 can’t-miss prospects for the Arizona Cardinals

1 - Will Anderson Jr., Edge/Alabama

With Jalen Carter’s ongoing legal issues, Will Anderson Jr has become the Arizona Cardinals top can’t-miss prospect. While they could trade down and snag a consolation prize in Tyree Wilson, Ossenfort also needs to bring a game-changing edge rusher to the desert, and would be Anderson. 

Over his career at Alabama, he shined, snagging 58.5 tackles behind the line and 34.5 sacks. If the Cards run a 4-3 scheme, Anderson may fit better at outside linebacker given his slight build for a defensive end/edge rusher. Either way, the Cardinals most likely selected their next great player in Anderson if they snag him with the third, or even the fourth, overall pick. 

2 - John Michael Schmitz C/Minnesota

There are a few centers the Arizona Cardinals can take with the 34th overall pick. But John Michael Schmitz stands out a head and shoulders above the rest, thanks to his experience and success. 

Ossenfort must look at who the Cardinals have the best chance of plugging in and playing, and as it stands roughly one month out of the draft, that player is Schmitz. He would be the final piece to an offensive line that has a surprising amount of depth. 

3 - Emmanuel Forbes, CB/Mississippi State

Emmanuel Forbes’ speed will catch your eye before anything else, but his productivity was off the charts, with 14 career interceptions and six pick sixes. And no, that is not a typo. 

Given those numbers, you may think Forbes would go higher than the 66th overall projected here. However, he weighed just 166lb at the NFL Combine, and that will scare teams away, given his 6’1 frame. 

But if the Arizona Cardinals want someone who could develop into a legitimate CB1 despite his slight build, they shouldn’t hesitate to take Forbes. Like most rookies, Forbes will have a learning curve, but don’t be surprised if you see a few immediate splash plays. 

Related. Cardinals could do good things during third round of draft. dark

(Statistics provided by Sports-Reference/CFB, draft profiles provided by Lance Zierlein,, contributions by Chad Reuter)