CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals’ mock draft scenarios: Arizona deals the No. 3 pick

Mar 24, 2023, 6:55 PM

Defensive back Christian Gonzalez #0 of the Oregon Ducks returns an interception in the third quart...

Defensive back Christian Gonzalez #0 of the Oregon Ducks returns an interception in the third quarter of a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 5, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Trade the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft or keep it?

That’s the question new Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort will have to answer soon enough.

But until he does, that gives us a chance to look at both sides of the coin. With some help from the Pro Football Focus mock draft generator, I ran through each of Arizona’s eight draft picks, dictating what they should do with each.

The rules are simple: Focus solely on the Cardinals’ current draft picks and no skipping allowed.

For the final edition of this two-part series, it’s time to trade that third overall pick.

Let’s wheel and deal:

No. 3: Trade

The Las Vegas Raiders get their man in Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, but for a price.

After watching Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud go first and second overall, the Raiders agreed to send Nos. 7 and 70 plus their 2024 first-rounder to leapfrog the QB-needy Indianapolis Colts and nab Levis.

The move puts the Cardinals out of the Will Anderson Jr. sweepstakes, who ends up heading to Seattle with the fifth overall pick (yikes), but gives Arizona additional assets to rebuild with.

It also opens the door to improve the secondary.

Feedback: PFF graded out the trade with an A-.

No. 7: Christian Gonzalez, CB (Oregon)

The Cardinals missed out on Anderson, but nabbing Gonzalez at No. 7 is one heck of a consolation prize.

The cornerback out of Oregon made a name for himself patrolling the outside in 2022, reeling in four interceptions, seven passes defensed and 50 tackles, one of which was for a loss. It was a big step up for the cornerback, who had recorded 10 passes defensed and no picks at Colorado from 2020-21.

While worked mostly out wide during his college career, Gonzalez has the versatility to move around the formation, a trait first-year Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon is big on.

The 6-foot-1, 197-pounder only boosted his draft stock at the 2023 NFL Draft Combine behind a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, 41.5-inch vertical and 11-foot-1 broad jump.

Adding him to the mix with Marco Wilson, Antonio Hamilton and Christian Matthew could go a long way in helping shore up the secondary.

Feedback: PFF graded out the first-round pick with an A-.

No. 34: Steve Avila, OG (TCU)

More versatility is on the way for Arizona with the addition of Avila in the second round.

Playing more than 1,000 snaps last season with TCU, Avila was a mainstay at left guard across 15 games in 2022. He did not allow a sack during that span. Avila was also a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior offensive lineman in the country and was named a consensus All-American last season.

Aside from his work as a left guard, Avila saw extended time at center the two seasons prior, recording 17 combined starts and 1,076 total snaps at the position. He also had stints at right guard (96 reps) and right tackle (113) over the course of this four-year college career.

Arizona has two major needs along the line at left guard and center. The 6-foot-3, 332-pound Avila can operate out of both.

Feedback: PFF graded out the second-round pick with a B-.

No. 66: Karl Brooks, Edge (Bowling Green)

With the Cardinals needing to bulk up the defensive line, it was time to take a look at pass rushers.

Among the top options left on the board was Brooks.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder is coming off 12 sacks, 18 tackles for losses, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles across 13 games in 2022, all career marks.

While most of his work came at outside linebacker (258 snaps), Brooks also saw time at defensive tackle (88).

He could serve as another depth piece on the line of scrimmage alongside Sanders, Cam Thomas, Jonathan Ledbetter and L.J. Collier.

Feedback: PFF graded the third-round pick with a B-.

No. 70 A.T. Perry, WR (Wake Forest)

The trade speculation surrounding wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins isn’t going away, so why not add another body (or two) to the WRs room?

Thanks to the extra pick garnered in the first-round trade with the Raiders, I do just that with the selection of Perry.

Perry, 23, racked up 81 receptions for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2022.

Standing 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds, the wide receiver adds a big body to a WRs room that may need an outside threat if Hopkins is dealt.

Aside from Hopkins, the Cardinals currently have Hollywood Brown, Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch under contract for 2023. Of the trio, Brown is the tallest at 5-foot-9 with Moore and Dortch standing 5-foot-7.

Feedback: PFF graded out the third-round pick with a B-.

No. 96: Moro Ojomo, DL (Texas)

Time to add another body to the defensive line with the versatile Ojomo.

The 6-foot-3, 292-pounder recorded three sacks, 5.5 tackles for losses and 26 pressures last season lining up primarily as a defensive tackle.

But while Ojomo saw 252 of his 375 snaps at tackle, he was also utilized as a defensive end.

In 2020 (nine games), Ojomo was used almost exclusively at DE where he registered a pair of sacks and 2.5 tackles for losses.

His skillset could give Arizona options when it comes to constructing the depth chart of the defensive line.

Feedback: PFF graded out the third-round pick with a C+.

No. 105: Mike Morris, Edge (Michigan)

Like Kylo Ren said: “More!”

I opted for back-to-back picks of defensive linemen given the Cardinals’ need for depth in the trenches.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end is coming off 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 12 games played last season.

Feedback: PFF graded out the fourth-round pick of Morris with an A-.

No. 168: Atonio Mafi, OG (UCLA)

Added depth on both sides of the line of scrimmage is never a bad thing.

Using that thought process, I turned my attention to the offensive line in the form of the 6-foot-4, 339-pound Mafi.

The lineman saw all 910 of his offensive snaps at left guard in 2022 after working primarily as a right guard the year prior.

Will Hernandez figures to resume his starting role at right guard, but the left side remains open for the taking.

And being able to operate out of both is never a bad thing, especially for a rookie looking to make an impact right away.

Feedback: PFF graded out the fifth-round pick with a B-.

No. 180: Juice Scruggs, C (Penn State)

The Cardinals have a question mark at center.

Could Scruggs be the answer?

After serving as both a center and right guard two seasons ago, the 6-foot-3, 301-pounder was used primarily as the former across 13 games in 2022.

With free-agent signing Hjalte Froholdt the only Cardinal currently on the roster with extended time at center, Scruggs could compete for playing time right away.

And if anything, has the ability to play guard if need be.

Feedback: PFF graded out the sixth-round pick with an A.

No. 213: Jake Bobo, WR (UCLA)

With the Cardinals’ final pick, I decided to add another big-bodied wideout to the roster in the 6-foot-4, 206-pound Bobo.

Following four seasons at Duke, Bobo amassed 817 yards and seven touchdowns on 57 catches in his lone year with the Bruins in 2022.

Bobo gives Arizona a big target to work with, who can be utilized out wide or moved in the slot.

Feedback: PFF graded out the sixth-round pick with a B-.

Overall grade: A-

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