The 2023 NFL Draft already traded a top five pick as the Bears sent the #1 pick to the Panthers before free agency began.
Now another pick could be on the way. This pick belongs to the Cardinals, who hold the No. 3 pick overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that Arizona is receiving interest from at least six teams regarding the No. 3 pick. He did not elaborate on which organizations had approached the cardinals.
At least six teams have reached out to the Arizona Cardinals about picking them in the upcoming NFL draft on the 27th, according to league sources. The Cardinals are still debating whether to make the pick or go for it.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 10, 2023
However, it makes sense that teams would target Cardinal picks. Arizona is the only team selected among the top four picks of the draft not believed to be targeting a quarterback. The Cardinals have Kyler Murray on the roster, and while he sustains an ACL tear, the team just can’t move him because of the huge five-year, $230.5 million contract extension it awarded him in 2022.
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As such, teams looking to skip the Colts in 4th place to land either Anthony Richardson or Will Levis will see an opportunity to move up. And the Cardinals may be ready to drop out of the pick to acquire more assets and expedite what they hope is a short rebuild.
But who could earn Arizona’s pick at No. 3? Sporting News breaks down five teams that might be interested in promotion to pick quarterback.
Top trade contenders for the #3 pick in the 2023 NFL draft
The Colts are grabbing 4th overall, but there’s still a chance they could move up to 3rd. Why? Because that jump wouldn’t require a significant amount of draft capital and would likely guarantee they could land their favorite passer between Anthony Richardson and Will Levis – barring an upset by either the Panthers or the Texans at the head of the draft.
We’ve seen one-spot trade-ups in the NFL draft before, especially in recent years. Back in 2017, the Bears went from No. 3 to No. 2 drafting quarterback Mitch Trubisky. And in the 2020 NFL draft, the Buccaneers moved up from 14th pick to 13th pick to draft offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs.
So don’t write the Colts off just because they’re guaranteed a top four quarterback shot. Owner Jim Irsay has made it clear that he wants a quarterback in the 2023 draft, so he’ll likely give the front office the green light to pursue whichever option they think is best for the team.
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Las Vegas robbers
The Raiders have landed Jimmy Garoppolo as a replacement for Derek Carr in the 2023 offseason, and it’s likely Josh McDaniels will roll with the veteran as a Los Angeles starter for at least a season.
However, that won’t necessarily stop the Raiders from pursuing a quarterback of the future. Remember, McDaniels said at the 2023 NFL Combine that the goal for Las Vegas is “to find someone who’s going to be here for a long time.” That could be Garoppolo, but considering he’s an injury-prone 31-year-old quarterback, the Raiders might be ready to do what the 49ers did and with the No. 3 a high upside backup behind Garoppolo design.
If the Raiders made that kind of swing-for-the-fences move, they’d probably go after Richardson. According to WalterFootball.com’s Charlie Campbell, they are said to like the Florida sporting product more than Levi’s, and Richardson would be an ideal candidate to sit behind Garoppolo for a season or two to work on his accuracy with NFL-level coaching.
So don’t count out the Raiders just because they have Garoppolo. That doesn’t stop them from picking a quarterback if they like one enough.
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The Falcons seem less likely than the Colts and Raiders in the quarterback market. They’re very fond of Desmond Ridder, a third-round pick from 2022, so they’ll likely give him a chance to start in 2023 and then reevaluate the quarterback position the following offseason.
Even so, between Ridder, Taylor Heinicke and Logan Woodside, the Falcons are one of the few NFL teams without an established quarterback on their roster. As such, they can’t be ruled out making the jump to #3 if they fall in love with Richardson or Levis.
For now, however, it looks like the Falcons are more likely to remain in place and seek upgrades for the rest of their roster. That could put her in a position to draft Caleb Williams in 2024 if the Ridder experiment doesn’t materialize.
The Titans are a team that’s garnered a lot of attention for being able to trade for a quarterback. That makes sense since Ryan Tannehill hasn’t fulfilled his extensive contract and will be a free agent after the 2023 NFL season.
Tennessee is attempting a quick rebuild in the days after Jon Robinson, but it has many holes in its roster to fill. It might be appropriate for the Titans to pursue their replacement for Tannehill this offseason and let him develop for a year before spending the 2024 offseason focusing on plugging the remaining holes.
Why this? Because the Titans are expected to have nearly $128 million in salary caps in 2024. That means they can afford to spend resources on a quarterback this offseason and then build around him in free agency the next offseason.
MORE: Titans, Raiders among teams interested in acting up to No. 3 pick
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If the Cardinals are poised to drop significantly in the 2023 NFL draft order, they might consider a team like the 19-year-old Buccaneers a solid option.
Currently in Tampa Bay, Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are fighting to be Tom Brady’s replacement. Mayfield has been mostly a bust so far, while Trask is an unproven pick for the second round. General manager Jason Licht seems to dig high on Trask, but maybe the opportunity to land a Richardson guy would make him reconsider his plan.
In all likelihood, a trade from 19th to 3rd would be too costly for the Buccaneers. Still, they’re an unconventional candidate to seek a deal with the Cardinals while Arizona prepares to sell its pick to the highest bidder.