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Cardinals Don't See NFL Draft as Will Anderson-or-Bust

The Arizona Cardinals have been tied to one of the top pass rushers in the draft in Will Anderson, but greater things potentially await them.

The Arizona Cardinals are in prime position with the third overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and there's heavy expectations that the team will explore all possible options to trade down in order to gain more draft capital. 

Plenty of fans hope to see the likes of Alabama EDGE Will Anderson on the roster moving forward, and perhaps rightfully so. Anderson projects as one of the best non-QB prospects in the class, and the Cardinals desperately need talented pass rushers. 

However, the Cardinals could potentially get a strong haul from auctioning off the No. 3 pick. For a roster that needs plenty of help and more holes to fill, many believe Arizona would be wise to obtain more draft capital as they enter their rebuild. 

Would Anderson's play be enough to warrant the Cardinals staying at No. 3, or is the allure simply too much to not trade back. 

ESPN's Bill Barnwell suggested Anderson as the team's prized possession after a slow free agency period, though he did contemplate whether or not the want to move down was too strong.

"It's a simple solution barring one possibility: What if the Cardinals get a significant trade offer for their pick? Teams that want a quarterback aren't going to get into one of the top two spots with the Panthers and Texans likely drafting signal-callers, but what if a team is eyeing another of the top passers at No. 3? With the Colts frothing to add a quarterback at No. 4, the Cardinals should field calls from teams interested in moving ahead of Indy to land their passer of the future," Barnwell said.

"Passing up Anderson might be tough, but the Cardinals aren't a pass-rusher away from contending. Trading down for the sake of doing so would be a waste, but if they could land another first-rounder to help build their roster, it would be worth some serious thought for new general manager Monti Ossenfort. Depending on how far they trade down, there's even a chance they could move a few picks and still land Anderson. Whether it's Anderson or someone else, Arizona needs to come out of this draft with at least one pass-rusher."

Anderson's strong mix of college play and potential at the next level makes him one of the top prospects at his position. However, the Cardinals also know (and to Barnwell's point) Anderson's presence alone won't make or break the beginning stages of their rebuild. 

Plenty of other talent exists, whether that involves players at similar positions such as Tyree Wilson or players at other positions of need - which happens to be a handful. 

The NFL Draft will always be a puzzle that teams navigate and go through differently. The puzzle itself doesn't matter, so long as all the pieces fit. 

Anderson projects to be something special at the next level, and Cardinals fans would rightfully be upset if the team not only passed on him, but let him slip to the Seattle Seahawks at No. 5 as well. 

In a best case scenario, the Cardinals could still move back and get Anderson by trading down one spot with the Indianapolis Colts if that suits them.

It all depends on the best offer, and for a new Arizona front office and coaching staff, the possibility of obtaining vital draft picks (with the potential of a first-round pick next year coming their way) simply outweighs taking Anderson. Teams will always take five more lottery tickets over one winner. 

The debate between Anderson and trading down will be one had by Cardinals fans even through the draft itself. Arizona sees it differently. 

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