Will Anderson Jr. needs to be the top draft selection for the Arizona Cardinals

New Mexico State v Alabama
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Trading down would be tempting, but the Arizona Cardinals should do whatever it takes to come out of the draft with Will Anderson Jr.

Over the past several months, fans of the Arizona Cardinals have gone back and forth on who the club should select with their first-round pick. For the most part, a great deal of attention has centered around a pair of prospects who are talented enough to take the Cards defense to an elite level.

In one corner is Jalen Carter, the defensive tackle out of the University of Georgia. Many draft experts have the 21-year-old ranked at the top of the 2023 draft class, but a transgression by the youngster may ultimately scare some teams off. Carter now faces reckless driving and racing charges from an incident back in January that took the lives of both a teammate and a member of Georgia's recruiting staff.

The uncertainty surrounding Carter should make edge-rusher Will Anderson Jr. the top target of the Cardinals front office. For the past three seasons, the 21-year-old phenom has been a key contributor to the University of Alabama defense. In addition to his outstanding production on the field, Anderson Jr. also possesses the outstanding character that Arizona's new regime is looking for in their players.

There are other members of the Cards fanbase who think that the organization's best option is to trade down in the opening round. Obviously, that would be the most practical way to go for new general manager Monti Ossenfort. Doing so, however, would mean passing on a generational talent like Anderson Jr.

The draft class's top pass-rusher would do wonders for the Arizona Cardinals defense

During his three campaigns with the Crimson Tide, Anderson Jr. racked up 204 tackles and an eye-popping 34.5 sacks. The 6 foot 4, 243 pounder is a two-time Unanimous All-American, and was also named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year following both the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Any chance of the Cardinals landing Anderson Jr. with the third-overall selection could depend on what the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans do with the draft's top two picks. There's a possibility that the Bears could grab the highly-touted sack specialist if they don't trade the first-overall choice to a quarterback-needy franchise. It's pretty much a done deal that the Texans will be acquiring a signal-caller, so the Redbirds probably don't need to worry about Anderson Jr. being stolen away by Houston.

The Cards will almost certainly be tempted to trade back, but defenders like Anderson Jr. don't grow on trees. The club's former management team already missed out on a great pass-rusher back in 2019, when they chose Kyler Murray over the great Nick Bosa. Ossenfort and his cohorts can correct that mistake by adding the sensational Anderson Jr. to the squad on April 27th .

Playmaking cornerback could be a second-round target of the Cardinals. dark. Draft-Related

(Statistics provided by Wikipedia)