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AP: 2cb2006f-0b01-4036-a6b6-09253bf0bed9
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert throws for NFL football scouts Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Columbia, Mo. Gabbert is a likely first-round pick and hopes to be the first quarterback chosen in the April 28 draft. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Got this friend. For the purposes of anonymity let's call him Harry (his real name is Larry but that's beside the point).

Larry Harry and I used to go to bars together where I played the role of his happily-married-here-to-help-wingman. Every trip to the bar included the traditional opening ceremony. We called it "a lap."

As in, "let's take a lap." One trip around the bar. Just to…..ummm…..see who was out there. See what options were out there for him. We'd return to Go, compare notes, and order a round of drinks.

Hey, you want deep? Go rent a Kubrick movie. This is a sports column.

Anyway…

I was thinking about Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert and for some reason the Larry Harry story popped in my head. It occurred to me that Gabbert is like that first person you see when you're taking a lap. With the fifth pick in the draft and a glaring need at the position, that's certainly where you start. But if you're the Cardinals it is clearly in your best interest to walk around the bar and see who is out there.

So who else is out there? Let's take a lap.

Kevin Kolb. Man, I read he may want 65-70 million dollars? I love what Ron Wolfley suggested; that Kolb might be inclined to forgo those gaudy demands to play for an offensive minded coach with a star wide receiver in a climate controlled facility located in a city he'd like to live in. I read all that and the only word I see, is the word might.

Carson Palmer. He's not going anywhere, you know that right? Mike Brown is dug in like a tick.

Matt Hasselbeck. I'd be a big fan of this move and it sounds like his brother Tim would be as well. He'd be a much better bridge QB than Marc Bulger. A little voice inside my head says his interest in Arizona is nothing more than a ruse to drive up the price in Seattle (much like Kurt Warner's trip to San Francisco).

Kyle Orton. I have a better feel with my golf game than I do for what will happen up in Denver. And I don't golf. Cam Newton. Keep walkin'.

Marc Bulger. Feels more like an In-Case-Of-Emergency-Break-Glass option. But I guess everyone needs a fall back plan. Unless he doesn't want to come this far west.

Which leads me back to Gabbert.

I've written in this space before that I hope the Cardinals don't have this choice. I hope Newton and Gabbert will be gone and the Cards can go get Von Miller or Patrick Peterson. I still think that will happen. ESPN's John Clayton said the other day that he expects both QB's will be off the board before #5 and even if they weren't he guarantees the Cardinals would not take Gabbert. Clayton got an Amen from this choir on all his points.

Suddenly though, I find myself vacillating on Gabbert. Hard worker. Big athletic guy. Whip smart. Accurate. The NFL Network's Trent Green compared him to Matt Ryan. How can you pass on the next Matt Ryan?

Everyone these days seems spooked by taking a QB high in the first round. If you miss, you're trapped in salary cap hell for years. But, what if you hit? What if you get it right? You just locked in a franchise QB for the next ten years, that's what. There's not as much risk in taking Peterson but then there's not as much reward either.

I still think the Cardinals will go defense. Miller if he's there (won't be). Peterson. Robert Quinn (more and more he's my best guess candidate). But whereas I was once a firmly opposed to Gabbert, I have to now admit I am intrigued.

A wise man once said "show me a man who won't change his mind and I'll show you a man who isn't thinking." After taking a lap, I'm thinking about Gabbert.

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