Drafting a QB is risky -- so what?
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~Thomas Edison
The hesitation with drafting quarterbacks is understandable. The last time Arizona took a QB in the first round the Cardinals selected Matt Leinart, and all they were ultimately left with was four years of failure with a side of crushed hopes and dreams. Before that? Tony Sacca, in 1992, and he followed the great Kelly Stouffer, who was chosen in 1987. Look at this history and it is apparent the Cardinals are to drafting quarterbacks what Derek Anderson is to completing passes.
Still, everyone and their mother knows the Arizona Cardinals need a new quarterback.
Nobody wants to sit through another season similar to the one led by the quartet of Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton and Richard Bartel, but the only way to guarantee an avoidance of a repeat would be to draft a quarterback at some point over the weekend.
Yet, many people, including Tyler Bassett, are hoping the Cardinals don't go anywhere near one of the top QBs in this year's draft.
I'm really not sure why that is.
If the Cardinals need a quarterback and the only way to get one is through the draft, why not go ahead and fill that need? It's kind of an important position to fill and besides, are rookies really so bad?
Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco led their teams to playoff berths in 2008 and Sam Bradford nearly did the same for the Rams just last year. While not necessarily the norm, it has been proven that, with the right pieces in place, a rookie can come in and lead a playoff team.
Do the Cardinals have those pieces in place right now? Well, the team is just one season removed from a division title, and they didn't go from really good to really bad because the team, as a whole, just plain fell apart.
Do the math. Cardinals + hall of fame QB = deep playoff run. Cardinals + bad QB = five win season. I'm no genius, as a great many people could attest to, but I come to one conclusion when I add that up.
The Cardinals are simply a respectable quarterback away from being competitive, and competitive in the NFC West could lead to another division title. They had good receivers, a capable running game and some playmakers on defense. Those will all be there when football resumes, so it is not as if the rookie would have to carry the team on his back.
Granted, this is all moot if Whisenhunt and the Cardinals don't feel there is a QB worthy of being selected in the first round in this draft. While there are plenty of talented arms to choose from, opinions on Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker, the expected first rounders, are mixed. Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Christian Ponder are all likely to be selected in the first few rounds, and odds are Arizona will look into one of those players if they go a different route in the first round.
Then again, if you don't trust Coach Whisenhunt to develop a young QB, well, that's an entirely different topic altogether. Either way, there's not a chance the team goes into the 201? season with the same quarterback options it had in 2010.
The Cardinals, in their history, have yet to draft a franchise quarterback. Besides Kurt Warner, they've never even really had one - drafted or not - guiding them on the field. Since Super Bowl teams generally have great quarterbacks, doesn't it make sense to draft one when the opportunity presents itself? If Coach Whisenhunt and the Cardinals feel one does Thursday evening, why not go for it?
Failure doesn't mean you are a failure... it just means you haven't succeeded yet. ~Robert Schuller