The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Ranking the Cardinals First Round Options

The Cardinals have options. Lots of options. But only one option makes the most sense two weeks from today when the long awaited 2023 NFL Draft kicks off. 

Here is how I’d rank the top 5 options for the Arizona Cardinals in this year's first round:

5. Stay at #3 and draft Christian Gonzalez or Devon Witherspoon

  • The recent history of drafting CB’s in the top 5 is real iffy. For every Sauce Gardner, there is a Jeff Okudah. Both Gonzalez and Witherspoon have a lot of strengths as prospects. I just wouldn’t take a CB this high. The entire position is set up to fail in the modern NFL. While it’s a big position of need for the Cardinals, I’d focus on quantity over top 5 quality later in the draft.

4. Stay at #3 and draft Tyree Wilson

  • If we’re being honest, the collective aversion to drafting the physical freak Tyree Wilson is familiarity bias. We think we KNOW Will Anderson. We know Alabama and Nick Saban and what kind of destruction SEC defensive stars create. We don’t know much about Texas Tech or a player in Wilson who has only recently sky rocketed to the top of the draft. On paper, Wilson looks like a very, very intriguing prospect but in Year 1 of Monti Ossenfort, he might not have the equity to throw a curveball this early in the draft.

3. Stick and pick Will Anderson at #3

  • This one feels like the safest, most comforting pick. Cardinals fans could avoid Terrell Suggs 2.0 and draft a player everyone knows. The chances of Anderson being a useless player, barring injuries, seems extremely small. He’s going to be an NFL caliber pass rusher. Will he be an All Pro or rock solid starter? Right now, everyone thinks its a slam dunk he’s an All World Edge but most players value will never be higher than it is before the draft. While I certainly wouldn’t complain about drafting Anderson, I don’t think its the best option on the table.

2. Trade down with the Indianapolis Colts at #4

  • Everything is true from option #3 but in this scenario, the Cardinals extract a premium pick from the Colts so they may have the privilege of drafting a QB without being one upped. Whatever risk is associated with drafting Anderson is mitigated by an additional 2nd round pick. I do not believe the Cardinals can trade down while only acquiring a 3rd; the feeding frenzy and QB panic would have to net the Cardinals an early 2nd from Indy.

1. Trade down out of the top 10

  • Hear me out: Trading down and acquiring a Dolphins/49ers haul of first round picks is the holy grail for the Cardinals in this year’s draft. If the Cardinals can land two future first round picks plus an additional premium pick in this year’s draft, there’s no better day at the office. If the Cardinals are armed with multiple first’s across multiple drafts, literally every team building opportunity is in front of them with the widest margin for error in rebuilding the team. The Cardinals will likely need 15-20 starting caliber players flooded onto their roster in the next 18 months - in this scenario, a trade down out of the top 10 puts them in the best position to build a winner around Kyler Murray or even after Kyler Murray. The NFL world would be their oyster and when is the last time the Cardinals could say that?

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