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Cardinals Consider Trade Down And What Could Be Gained

At No. 3, teams could be looking to give extra picks for shot at QB

The Cardinals are going through all their draft night scenarios every day, including trade possibilities.
The Cardinals are going through all their draft night scenarios every day, including trade possibilities.

The Cardinals need players, and when you need players, more draft picks can only help.

Need is a reason many believe general manager Monti Ossenfort would make trading down Thursday in the first round of the draft, sacrificing the No. 3 overall choice to gain more picks, a priority.

"I think if the trade makes sense and it's the right decision for our team at the time, then we'll do it," Ossenfort said. "If the right move is to sit and pick a player who've we've done a lot of work on through the process, then we'll be prepared to do that, so I wouldn't say that it's any more likely now as opposed to down the line."

Circumstances change, however, and it isn't just the Cardinals' own circumstances that leads the prevailing thought there could be a deal. It's also the quarterbacks that may or may not be sought, and the desire to come up and get one, whether quarterbacks are picked 1-2 before the Cardinals or it's just 1-and-done.

NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah thinks it only makes sense for the Cardinals to parlay No. 3 into more picks, believing the Cardinals need to significantly improve their roster.

"I think it makes a lot of sense for them to try and get as many assets as possible this year and next year, just accumulate as many picks as you possibly can," Jeremiah said. "That makes all the sense in the world for them.

"I would say the same thing about the Cardinals that I said about the Bears. If they have an opportunity to move back, don't get hung up on I can only go back one spot or two spots or three spots, that 'I don't want to be out of range of a particular player.' You are a lot more than a particular player away from being a good team, so get back as far as you can, get as much as you can."

There has to be a market, however. Jeremiah makes note of that, as does Ossenfort. Does someone want to come up for C.J. Stroud? Or Anthony Richardson? Or even Will Levis?

Twelve times in drafts since 2016 has a team been willing to trade down off a top 10 pick to allow another team to come up. Most of the time, it is for a quarterback. This is the backdrop for what the Cardinals might expect.

Table inside Article
Year Team trading down Pick dealt Team trading up Player Trade cost
2021 Dolphins No. 3 49ers QB Trey Lance No. 12; first, third in 2022; first in 2023
2021 Eagles No. 6 (plus '21 5th) Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle No. 12; fourth in 2021; first in 2022
2021 Cowboys No. 10 Eagles WR DeVonta Smith No. 12; third in 2021
2019 Broncos No. 10 Steelers LB Devin Bush No. 20; second in 2019, third in 2020
2018 Colts No. 3 Jets QB Sam Darnold No. 6; two seconds in 2018, second in 2019
2018 Buccaneers No. 7 Bills QB Josh Allen No. 12; two seconds in 2018
2018 Raiders No. 10 Cardinals QB Josh Rosen No. 15; third in 2018, fifth in 2018
2017 49ers No. 2 Bears QB Mitch Trubisky No. 3; third in 2017, fourth in 2017, third in 2018
2017 Bills No. 10 Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes No. 27; third in 2017; first in 2018
2016 Titans No. 1 (plus fourth, sixth in 2016) Rams QB Jared Goff No. 15; two seconds in 2016; first, third in 2017
2016 Browns No. 2 (plus fifth in 2017) Eagles QB Carson Wentz No. 8; third, fourth in 2016; first in 2017; second in 2018
2016 Browns No. 8 (and a sixth in 2016) Titans T Jack Conklin No 15; third in 2016; second in 2017

The reality is the Cardinals, if other teams are interested, probably don't need to go too far back. Maybe the Colts at No. 4, the Raiders at No. 7 or the Titans – Ossenfort's former team – at No. 11 could want to move up for a quarterback.

A swap with the Colts wouldn't provide the biggest haul, but it would get at least an extra pick, maybe even a second-rounder, and still allow the Cardinals to take the same player they would've anyway.

"Don't be greedy. If they want to give you a second-round pick to get the exact same player, why would you not take it?" Jeremiah said. "If the Colts offered a third-round pick to move up one spot, if you don't have any other offers, if that's the only offer that you had and you're Arizona, you would be a fool not to take it. It will come down to me whether or not they have other offers in the mix."

The Panthers will take a quarterback at No. 1. The Texans have done a good job at No. 2 creating doubt that they would take a quarterback. Once the Cardinals are on the clock Thursday night, they'll know what teams are in play and what players – and what trades might be possible.

"I have no idea what's going to happen at one or two," Ossenfort said. "I think that's a little bit why when we go through our draft exercises those are the questions that we're going to have to ask ourselves. So no, I don't think anything that happens in front of us will dictate what we're going to do at three."