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Draft Puzzle Pieces for Cardinals’ 4-3 Defense

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Here is how one might configure the two-deep Cardinals’ 4-3 defense depth chart a mere month away from the 2023 NFL Draft:

  • LDE L.J. Collier (Victor Dimukeje)
  • LDT Rashard Lawrence (Kevin Strong)
  • RDT Leki Fotu (Manny Jones)
  • RDE Cameron Thomas (Myjai Sanders)

  • SOLB Isaiah Simmons (Jesse Luketa)
  • MLB Zaven Collins (Krys Barnes)
  • WOLB Kyzir White (Dennis Gardeck)

  • LCB Antonio Hamilton (Christian Matthew)
  • SS Budda Baker (JuJu Hughes)
  • FS Jalen Thompson (Josh Thomas)
  • RCB Marco Wilson (Nate Hairston)

  • NCB ???


  1. NCB
  2. DT
  3. Edge Rusher
  4. CB
  5. Cover FS

Drafting OLB Will Anderson Jr.

  • Checks the Edge Rusher Box #3
  • Moves Isaiah Simmons to FS, which checks Cover FS Box #5
  • Could Move Jalen Thompson to CB to fill Byron Murphy Role and check CB #4.

Mock to Shop: With ARI sending pick #3 to IND for picks #4, #79 and #106


  • Edge Rusher —- Anderson, Brooks
  • Slot CB —- Phillips
  • DT —- Ojomo and Tavai
  • CB —- Williams

Trade Down Haul With Texans:

ARI trades the #3 pick to HOU for picks #12, #33, #104 and HOU’s 2024 1sr Round pick.


  • Slot CB —- Phillips
  • DT —- Kancey, Ojomo
  • Edge Rusher —- McDonald, Brooks
  • CB —- Williams

NFL Draft Data Mock

With a 5 trade downs (starting with Colts trade).

To be able to draft Will Anderson Jr. and Brian Branch available at #34 was a dream scenario.


  • Slot CB —- Branch
  • DT —- Pickens, Redmond
  • Edge Rusher —- Anderson, Horton
  • CB —- Brents, Turner
  • Cover FS —- Hellams, Torrence

Trade Down With Raiders (there has been speculation that the Raiders are one of the main teams that have been talking with the Cardinals about trading up to #3 for a QB).

ARI trades the #3 pick to LV for picks #7, #38, #109 and LV’s 2024 1sr Round pick.

In this mock, Tyree Wilson was off the board. Jalen Carter was the highest graded player on the board, and if the Cardinals are confident in the ways in which they have developed a rapport with Carter, then they could feel free to tab him at #7 and then continue on a defensive shopping spree that checks:

  • Slot CB —- Phillips
  • DT —- Carter, Ojomo
  • Edge Rusher —- Ojulari, Brooks
  • CB —- Forbes

Most Elusive Player to Mock:

Gervon Dexter Sr., DT, Florida

Taking him at #34 is too high and on many mocks he’s often off the board in the 3rd round.

With the Florida ties, I would expect MODS to try to hop on Gervon Dexter if he’s on the board in Round 3, especially if they haven’t addressed the DT position to that point.

Of the Mock Draft Scenarios Presented (excluding the NFL Data Dream Mock):


Which Draft Scenario Do You Prefer?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    #1 IND Trade
    (191 votes)
  • 10%
    #2 HOU trade
    (30 votes)
  • 24%
    #3 LV trade
    (70 votes)
291 votes total Vote Now


Which Defensive Position Group is the Deepest in the 2023 NFL Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    (110 votes)
  • 17%
    Defensive Interior
    (41 votes)
  • 36%
    (85 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now


Which Defensive Position Group in the 2023 NFL Draft is Thinnest?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    (15 votes)
  • 77%
    Defensive Interior
    (179 votes)
  • 16%
    (38 votes)
232 votes total Vote Now


Which Base Defense Do You Think Best Suits the Coaches and Personnel?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    (168 votes)
  • 9%
    (25 votes)
  • 25%
    (66 votes)
259 votes total Vote Now

How did you vote on the poll questions? What are your thoughts about what the Cardinals need to do to make the defense dynamic?