ARIZONA CARDINALS

NFL.com’s Jeremiah mocks Alabama’s Will Anderson to Cardinals

Jan 21, 2023, 7:10 AM
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) jogs off the field after a 34-0 win over Austin Peay at a...

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) jogs off the field after a 34-0 win over Austin Peay at an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Anderson was named the Defensive player of the year on the All-SEC team announced Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

(AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

Even if the first NFL Draft picks in 2023 remain with the teams that currently own them, the Arizona Cardinals could be staring at a franchise-altering option remaining on the board at No. 3.

The Chicago Bears with quarterback Justin Fields already on the roster sit in an enviable position atop the draft with a chance to trade down, while the Houston Texans would seemingly have a good shot at being first to nab a quarterback.

Then comes the Cardinals, who might see one of the top defensive players left on the board. In NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s first mock draft for 2023, that lands them Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr.

The Cardinals are desperate for edge-rush talent, and Anderson is clearly the best in this class. He can win with speed and power.

As a junior, Anderson posted 51 tackles with 10 sacks and an interception.

It came a season after piling up 101 tackles with 17.5 sacks in 2021. The 6-foot-4, 243-pound linebacker remains in an elite tier of draft prospects along with the top quarterbacks and Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter.

Carter, by the way, is the No. 1 pick on Jeremiah’s first mock, heading to Chicago as the Bears stand pat.

I’m sure the Bears would love to trade out of this pick. If that option isn’t available — or the offers fail to meet their asking price — Carter would be an immediate difference-maker on all three downs.

Jeremiah has the Texans selecting Alabama quarterback Bryce Young second overall, leaving Arizona a chance at drafting Anderson, who is a near-unanimous top-five draft pick, according to draft experts.

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NFL.com’s Jeremiah mocks Alabama’s Will Anderson to Cardinals