Kiper: Lamar Jackson trade saga may jolt Cardinals’ trade-down draft hopes

Apr 1, 2023, 7:10 AM

The Arizona Cardinals do not need to select a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 27, but with the No. 3 pick, they are in a prime position to benefit from the plethora of teams that need to upgrade their signal caller. 

But with Lamar Jackson asking for a trade from the Baltimore Ravens, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta teams looking to trade up into the Cardinals’ slot will not likely commit until after Jackson’s fate is settled. 

“It depends a lot on this Lamar Jackson situation with Indianapolis and what happens there and then certainly where Seattle is going to take a quarterback or go defense at that point,” Kiper said. 

With so many moving parts, according to Kiper, the top of the draft is a bit of a haze less than a month out from draft night. 

“So there’s a lot of teams that potentially could look to go up if the right quarterback is there and you don’t know who they really like. That’s the whole key to this where Arizona is sitting, who does Carolina take? Who does Houston take?” he said.

Kiper not only likes Will Anderson Jr., the early favorite for the Arizona Cardinals, he “loves” him as a player and a person. 

“He really gives you everything he has,” Kiper said. 

And, he thinks Anderson has a chance at being mentioned among elite defensive personnel such as Nick Bosa, Von Miller and Myles Garrett. 

“I didn’t see that at Alabama, but hey, with his work ethic, you know, he’s going to be a sponge. He’s gonna listen to everything that defensive line coach tries to teach him,” Kiper said. 

He said Anderson has to develop the “bend” and improve his explosiveness to become elite in the NFL. 

“Can he develop the bend? We’ll see, but he’s going to be clearly, you know, one of the top guys in this draft, I have him second on the board right now,” he said. 

If the Cardinals trade back beyond No. 4 they will have little chance of selecting Anderson, Kiper said, and the Cardinals would then smartly pivot to Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech. 

“He’s got big time talent. It’s just to me they dropped him in coverage some … he was banged up at the end of the year with the foot (injury). He had surgery. But his play was sporadic to me.” 

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