Per Adam Schefter, “at least six teams” have reached out to the Arizona Cardinals about a trade-up in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Cardinals currently hold the third overall pick. It is believed that multiple teams are interested in jumping up in the draft to select one of the top quarterbacks in the class.
At least six teams have inquired with the Arizona Cardinals about trading up for the third overall pick in the upcoming April 27 NFL Draft, per league sources. Cardinals still are mulling whether to move pick or make it.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 10, 2023
With all that said, Arizona could still stick and pick. However, this seems increasingly unlikely.
Draft Targets in Trade-up with Cardinals
The main reason why a team would trade up with the Cardinals is to acquire a quarterback. The Carolina Panthers struck a deal with the Chicago Bears for the first overall pick, where they will draft their new franchise quarterback. The rumors are that they will draft Bryce Young, but some have suggested they could opt for C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson instead. Indeed, Thomas Davis has said that Carolina will ‘surprise’ with their selection, which seems rather cryptic. Either way, a quarterback is expected.
Behind the Panthers are the Houston Texans. The Texans are essentially a lock to also draft a quarterback, though they will have to wait for Carolina to take their pick first. With that said, the Texans are not a lock to draft a quarterback. More recently, some have suggested that Houston could select Will Anderson Jr., which would leave two of the top three quarterbacks left.
As such, any team that moves up will likely be targeting the second or third-best quarterback in this draft. Many believe that the likeliest candidate here is Richardson, but it could also be Stroud or Young. However, there is still an outside chance that a team could choose to move up for Anderson, who is considered this year’s top non-quarterback prospect (by some margin).
Teams Interested in Trade-up with Cardinals
There are multiple teams that could be interested in a trade-up with the Cardinals. Who are the likeliest? And who are dark horses?
Tier 1 – Favorites
The two favorites for a trade-up with the Cardinals are the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans. Indeed, both trades are intertwined. New Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort was formerly of the Titans. He has many connections with the team and could look to strike a team with his former allies. Tennessee currently sits at 11 and a move up would likely cost around three first-round picks (like the San Francisco 49ers trade for Trey Lance). This package would suit the Cardinals greatly, who are looking to add as much capital as possible. Add in the fact that Tennessee is interested in DeAndre Hopkins, meaning he could be included in any package.
The Colts, on the other hand, could move up one spot to prevent any teams from leapfrogging them (especially division rivals Tennessee). Indianapolis is expected to draft a quarterback and could give up a second-round pick to move up one spot to ensure that they can get the guy they want.
Tier 2 – Candidates
There are a few teams that fall into this category. The Las Vegas Raiders are one of them. Even though Las Vegas signed Jimmy Garoppolo, they could look to draft (and groom) a quarterback for the future.
The Atlanta Falcons are another team that could move up. While they seem keen on sticking with Desmond Ridder, this could be a smokescreen (just ask Cardinals fans). Unless Arthur Smith is convinced Ridder is the real deal, a move up for one of the top signal callers makes sense.
Another team to watch could be the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle re-signed Geno Smith but could look to draft a rookie to learn behind him. Smith, after all, is an aging veteran and so getting a quarterback for the future would make sense.
Tier 3 – Unlikely Suitors
In this tier are the Detroit Lions. At six, Detroit could move up and either grab a franchise quarterback or Anderson. Dan Campbell appears keen on Jared Goff after a strong season. But the team could also look to get younger and cheaper. Anderson is also a good fit for Detroit given his high character. His partnership with Aidan Hutchinson would be scary. On top of this, Detroit has two first-round picks this year. A trade-up for Detroit makes more sense than one might think.
The Philadelphia Eagles could be players for Anderson. Like Detroit, they have multiple first-round selections this year. Given how their defense has been gutted this off-season, Philadelphia could replenish their depth chart by getting Anderson. The success of Haason Reddick, a player with a similar profile to Anderson, means that this would be a slam-dunk pick for the Eagles.
The final team here is the New York Jets. The Jets are the favorites to land Aaron Rodgers. However, if that trade falls through, they could look to move up and grab their franchise quarterback in the draft.
Tier 4 – Dark Horses
A few teams are dark horses for the third overall pick. This includes the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick has reportedly been shopping Mac Jones to other teams this off-season (to no avail). This suggests that they are ready to move on. As such, they could trade up and grab a new franchise quarterback.
The Baltimore Ravens may be another team to watch. This would be highly dependent on whether the Ravens are able to agree to terms with Lamar Jackson, however. Thus, a few things would need to fall in place for Baltimore to be interested.
The Washington Commanders are another team that falls into this category. They are expected to roll with Sam Howell at quarterback. However, with Eric Bienemy at the helm, the Commanders could try to move up and give their new offensive coordinator the quarterback of his choice.
What Would a Trade-up with Cardinals Cost?
With ‘at least six’ teams interested, Arizona can certainly drive up the price of the pick. Teams interested in quarterbacks will likely have to pay a ‘quarterback tax’ on their trade too. As such, expect teams picking at 10 or after to have to cough up a minimum of three first-round picks. Detroit, Las Vegas, and Atlanta would likely get away with offering a minimum of two firsts.
Seattle is in a peculiar position. Should they move up, they would likely have to pay a premium due to both the ‘quarterback tax’ as well as the fact that they would be trading with a division rival.
Main Photo: Gary Cosby Jr. – USA TODAY NETWORK