Mel Kiper Jr. on Cardinals’ 2023 draft: It’s a tricky class to trade back in

Apr 14, 2023, 7:58 AM

Monti Ossenfort at the NFL Combine...

General manager Monti Ossenfort of the Arizona Cardinals speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on February 28, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The recent history of trading the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft is relatively productive for the team moving out of that spot.

But every draft is different, and the 2023 iteration presents a challenge for the Arizona Cardinals if they’re hoping to add value with more picks.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. thinks the Cardinals are in a very difficult position and should be wary of trading for more assets because of the uncertainty of this draft, where edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. is a no-doubt pick at No. 3. Trading down would net general manager Monti Ossenfort more mid-round selections, but that’s where things get iffy.

“If we are looking back at this draft five years from now and we give the Cardinals an A or a B grade, give the scouts a raise because they earned it,” Kiper told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Thursday.

“This is a tricky year with a lot of guys that have question marks. It’s hard to separate guys at certain spots, hard to find guys at certain spots to fill out a top 100 let alone a top 200. I got to 60 guys and started struggling. This is a draft where you have to hope your scouts have really done their job and earned every cent.”

For Arizona, the third pick is the highest selection since the team selected Kyler Murray No. 1 overall in 2019. Before that, the Cardinals hadn’t held a top-three selection since Larry Fitzgerald went No. 3 in 2004.

The Cardinals could be looking at a multitude of picks if the team decides to not only trade back but unloads the contract of wideout DeAndre Hopkins before then.

Although, Arizona’s decisions could depend on what the Houston Texans do at No. 2, as Kiper has heard they may be considering something other than taking a quarterback.

As it stands, the Carolina Panthers at first overall and Texans at second are expected to fill a void under center.

“Houston baffles me a little bit,” Kiper said.

“They surprised us last year taking (cornerback) Derek Stingley Jr. over Sauce Gardner and maybe they will do it again. Could you imagine if the Texans take someone other than a quarterback, how valuable that pick would be at No. 3?”

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