3. Arizona Cardinals – Will Anderson, EDGE, Alabama
No. 3 overall is a popular trade-down spot in most mock drafts. With two trades already occurring, and both being quarterbacks, Arizona elects to stay put and take the best player on its board in Alabama’s Will Anderson.
Anderson is a prototypical edge rusher and shows the agility and footwork to impact the game on multiple levels. He is refined as a pass rusher and should be a front-runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
4. Chicago Bears (via IND) – Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
There is a chance that Carter’s legal issues push him down the board, but until I hear otherwise, the Chicago Bears should run this card up to the podium. The Georgia superstar fits Matt Eberflus’ three-technique like a glove and is the No. 1 player on my big board.
*One more trade!*
The Seahawks re-signed Geno Smith to a three-year, $105 million contract, meaning they can pass on a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft. Instead, they pull a patented Seattle move by trading down and accumulating more assets while letting the Tennessee Titans vault up to No. 5 overall ahead of other quarterback-needy teams.
•No. 5 (2023)
•No. 11 (2023)
•Future 1st (2024)
5. Tennessee Titans (via SEA) – Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
I have read the reports saying Ryan Tannehill will start for the Titans in 2023. That’s fine and dandy, but unless the team sees Malik Willis as the answer long-term, they should go after a high-potential signal-caller that can learn behind the veteran Tannehill as a rookie.
Anthony Richardson’s upside rivals any player in the 2023 NFL Draft. He needs patience as he develops, but with his rocket launcher arm and freaky athleticism, the Florida Gator should blossom in Nashville. It is well worth the risk, as the team holds onto its day two picks to address the offensive line and receiver room.
6. Detroit Lions (via LAR) – Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
The Lions must bolster one of the worst secondaries in the league. Christian Gonzalez sent the NFL Combine in a tizzy as he showcased elite athleticism and impressive change of direction in drills. Detroit adds an immediate starter on the boundary.
7. Las Vegas Raiders – Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Will Levis and the Raiders have been linked together recently, but I think the veteran approach is much more likely for Vegas. Instead, how about a top-of-the-depth-chart type of player at cornerback?
Devon Witherspoon is a hard-nosed defender out of Illinois. He thrives in man coverage but is just as effective in off-coverage. With the Raiders, Witherspoon can do anything Patrick Graham asks of him — and more.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Tyree Wilson, DL, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson could go earlier than this, but No. 8 overall should be his floor if he slips. The Falcons are abysmal at sacking the quarterback and need all the help they can get. Wilson is a long, powerful pass rusher who can transform the unit immediately upon arrival.