Full 7-round mock drafts have Cardinals looking for defense

Apr 2, 2023, 6:56 AM | Updated: 10:38 am

Roger Goodell NFL Draft Cardinals...

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces a pick by the Arizona Cardinals during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals’ third overall pick has been the focal point of conversation for local and national sports media outlets leading up to the draft, but what about after that?

Most mock drafts have the Cardinals either selecting Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. or possibly trading the pick for additional assets.

Either way, the Cardinals also have seven other picks in this year’s draft with lots of potential on the board and lots of holes to fill.

After losing Byron Murphy Jr. and Zach Allen to free agency, and J.J. Watt to retirement, defense seems like it may be a theme in the Cardinals’ draft strategy.

Here are full mock drafts from ESPN and The Draft Network to see what they have the Cardinals doing once draft time rolls around.


Round 1, Pick 3: Will Anderson Jr. / EDGE, Alabama

Round 2, Pick 34: Cam Smith / CB, South Carolina

Round 3, Pick 66: Siaki Ika / IDL, Baylor

Round 3, Pick 96: Jaelyn Duncan / OT, Maryland

Round 4, Pick 105: Dylan Horton / EDGE, TCU

Round 5, Pick 168: Jarrett Patterson / IOL, Norte Dame

Round 6, Pick 180: Puka Nacua / WR, BYU

Round 6, Pick 213: Trey Dean / S, Florida

The Draft Network

Round 1, Pick 3: Will Anderson Jr. / EDGE, Alabama

Round 2, Pick 34: John Michael Schmitz / OC, Minnesota

Round 3, Pick 66: Deonte Banks / CB, Maryland

Round 3, Pick 96: Kayshon Boutte / WR, LSU

Round 4, Pick 105: Jaren Hall / QB, BYU

Round 5, Pick 168: Eku Leota / EDGE, Auburn

Round 6, Pick 180: Marte Mapu / LB, Sacramento State

Round 6, Pick 213: Keaton Mitchell / RB, Eastern Carolina


Let’s just say these two mock drafts are pretty similar and for good reason. Defense is written all over these mocks, starting with Anderson Jr. He is highly recognized as the most athletic player in this years’ draft class and he just so happens to fill a void on the outside. The Cardinals are thin at defense to say the least, and having Anderson Jr. as someone to build around is an obvious step in the right direction.

After that, both mocks have the Cardinals picking a cornerback with one of the next two picks, which also makes complete sense. Murphy Jr. was CB1, leaving the Cardinals with Antonio Hamilton and Marco Wilson to take the reins without much else to work with behind them.

Smith and Banks both have the physicality and athleticism to possibly develop into a cornerstone corner that could exponentially accelerate the Cardinals’ rebuild timeline.

In the later picks, both mocks have the Cardinals getting a second edge rusher to theoretically line up opposite Anderson Jr. Whether it is Horton, Leota or another edge rusher with a high ceiling, getting two in the draft can create a dynamic duo that could flourish in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.


In the early parts of the draft, the main difference is the pick of center Michael Schmitz in the second round from The Draft Network. Not to bring up bad memories from the past, but the Cardinals had some underwhelming center play with the injury of Rodney Hudson last season, who is also expected to retire.

There are obvious positional differences in the later parts of these mocks, but the one that stands out is with the Cardinals’ fourth pick late in the third round. With Justin Pugh likely gone to free agency and Cody Ford signing with the Bengals, some offensive line help is needed and Duncan isn’t a bad pick from The Draft Network.

On the other hand, ESPN has Boutte, who is a vertical wide receiver weapon that the Cardinals may desperately need if they lose DeAndre Hopkins.

It’s hard to say either are wrong, because both are likely needed.

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Full 7-round mock drafts have Cardinals looking for defense