Final NFL mock drafts trend toward Cardinals trading with Titans

Apr 27, 2023, 9:30 AM

Cardinals NFL Draft 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)

It’s draft day, and the tenor around the Arizona Cardinals can be summarized like this: The expectation is for new general manager Monti Ossenfort to trade down with eyes on shoring up the offensive line.

Because he spent his last few years working for Tennessee — and because the Titans could use a franchise quarterback — there’s a belief a deal between Arizona at the third pick and Tennessee at the 11th is going to happen.

Mock drafts have taken a right turn to trend that way. No longer do they expect the Cardinals to stick at No. 3 to draft Will Anderson, the Alabama edge who is widely regarded as the best non-quarterback in the draft.

That’s because the Houston Texans, the feeling is, no longer will take a quarterback with the second overall pick. They could draft Anderson.

Reporters still indicate Arizona is doing everything in its power to trade down. ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported Thursday morning that the Cardinals are mulling multiple trade offers.

Probably not surprising.

Here’s a peek at how the experts’ mock drafts look the morning of the first round.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

No. 3 pick: Traded to the Titans (C.J. Stroud)

Acquire No. 11 pick: Iowa DL Lukas Van Ness

Arizona is another team to watch for one of the tackles, but Van Ness would fill a big need. He could play all over the D-line here, and his positional flexibility is appealing. With the projected trade, the Cardinals now have an extra second-round pick, which would help them fill out their depleted roster.

Kiper has the Cardinals also acquiring the No. 41 draft pick, a 2024 first-round choice and a 2025 first in this deal, a costly trade Arizona would likely pounce on.

ESPN’s Todd McShay

No. 3 pick: Traded to the Titans (C.J. Stroud)

Acquire No. 11 pick: Ohio State OL Paris Johnson Jr.

I’ve heard that the Cardinals like Johnson, and they can still get him here at No. 11 after the projected trade-down. The Arizona offensive line is a big need, especially with Kyler Murray returning from a torn ACL. Johnson not only has the size, length and quickness to improve protection but also the versatility to play multiple positions.

There remains a starting hole at guard for the Cardinals, and Johnson is widely regarded as a top lineman who could slide.

McShay has Tennessee giving up less than Kiper, with that 41st pick in this year’s draft and a first- or second-round selection next year heading to Arizona.’s Peter Schrager

No. 3 pick: Traded to the Titans (C.J. Stroud)

Acquire No. 11 pick: Georgia OL Broderick Jones

Arizona moves back and beefs up the O-line. Paris Johnson Jr. might be the guy the Cardinals want, but he won’t be there at No. 11 if they trade with the Titans, as I’ve proposed here.’s Lance Zierlein

No. 3 pick: Ohio State OL Paris Johnson Jr.

If the Texans take Tyree Wilson, this could be a trade-up spot for a team looking to add Will Anderson Jr. If Anderson goes second (as I ultimately project just above) and Arizona isn’t into Wilson, this becomes a tough call unless a team moves up for C.J. Stroud. I’ll follow the smoke and put offensive tackle here, but I don’t feel great about it.’s Daniel Jeremiah

No. 3 pick: Traded to the Texans (C.J. Stroud)

Acquire No. 12 pick: Ohio State OL Paris Johnson Jr.

There’s a lot of buzz that the Cardinals could take Johnson at No. 3 overall if they stay put. They still get him at No. 12 in this scenario. He’s a plug-and-play starter for a team that gets some extra bites at the apple after trading down.

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly

No. 3 pick: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez

The Cardinals will surely look to move back from this spot, but if they can’t find a suitable partner for that, grabbing a top-tier defender is a nice consolation prize. Gonzalez is an elite athlete with excellent length, and he brings versatility to play in both man and zone looks. He’s a great building block for a team looking to remake its roster.

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