How far is too far for the Cardinals to trade down in the NFL Draft?

Apr 11, 2023, 11:05 AM

Arizona cardinals, monti ossenfort...

Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort speaks with reporters during his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

New Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort is going to have options when it comes down to trading down out of the third pick in the NFL Draft.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, at least six teams have spoken with the Cardinals about trading up to No. 3.

A trade seems more and more likely with each passing day. But how far is too far down to still land a franchise talent?

Joining Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Tuesday, ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller explained why sticking inside the top-10 is the ticket for the new regime.

“I would look at this and say you want to get an impact defender,” Miller said. “I think especially when it’s your first go-around as GM, your first draft with a new team … you want to come out of this draft with a good player, an impact player. Somebody you can hang your hat on. I would say Nos. 7 or 8 is probably the floor if you want to get one of the top three defenders.”

Those three defenders Miller mentioned? That would be Alabama’s Will Anderson, Georgia’s Jalen Carter and Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., however, sees a scenario where the Cardinals fall outside of the first 10 picks and still nab a premier pass rusher.

In Kiper’s latest mock draft published Tuesday morning, the analyst has Tennessee Titans handing out a haul of draft picks: Nos. 11 and 41 in 2023, a 2024 first-rounder and either a 2025 first- or second-round pick to move up to No. 3 and select quarterback Anthony Richardson out of Florida.

But despite dropping out of the top 10, the Cardinals still get a valuable asset in Wilson.

I like Myjai Sanders, but he’s raw. Cameron Thomas and Dennis Gardeck could take steps forward, but D-line is a massive need for the Cardinals. The 6-6 Wilson is a prototypical end who could thrive in new coach Jonathan Gannon’s defense.

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Wilson is coming off a senior season (10 games) in which he racked up seven sacks and 61 tackles (14 for losses) to go along with a forced fumble.

The Cardinals continued adding to positions of need in the second round of Kiper’s mock draft, taking TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston at No. 34 and Michigan defensive lineman Mazi Smith with 41st overall pick acquired in the trade with Tennessee.

Johnston is reportedly meeting with the Cardinals for a top-30 visit on Tuesday and has been projected to go in the late first or early second round.

The wideout reeled in 60 catches for 1,069 yards and six touchdowns over 14 games played last season. He mostly played out wide as opposed to in the slot.

Smith is coming off a 48-tackle effort in 2022 (14 games played).

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