Rare has it been when the Arizona Cardinals have drafted a quarterback.
In fact, since the turn of the century they have selected just five, with just one of them — Matt Leinart in 2006 — being taken in the first round.
Other than that, the Cardinals have spent third-round (Josh McCown, 2002), seventh-round (John Navarre, 2005), fifth-round (John Skelton, 2010), sixth-round (Ryan Lindley, 2012) and fourth-round (Logan Thomas, 2014) picks on passers, generally nabbing players who were not seen as franchise quarterbacks, but instead projects that could maybe turn into something down the road.
Other than McCown, who has put together a pretty nice career mostly as a backup, none (including Leinart) panned out. And besides missing on Leinart, the only thing the Cardinals really cost themselves with the other players were late draft picks.
The concept of adding a passer in this year’s draft is one Cardinals GM Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians have openly discussed. Yet, at the same time it has been called a “double-edged sword” in that taking one in the first round is very risky, especially in a year where the top QBs available are not viewed as sure things.
Yet, even with all that said, there are some who believe this will be the year the Cardinals pull the trigger on a quarterback with their first pick, which is 13th overall. NFL.com’s Marc Sessler is one of them, as he listed the Cardinals as one of six teams who may do it.
It’s not their only need, but the Cardinals must think about finding a replacement for Carson Palmer. Bruce Arians remains one of the game’s premier quarterback tutors, but he’s shied away from grooming a rookie in Arizona. They can’t avoid that task much longer, meaning the Cardinals could make a move at No. 13, especially if the Browns, Jets and Bills address other needs ahead of them.
Indeed, the Cardinals find themselves in a position where they need a young quarterback. Palmer is 37 years old and considered retiring before electing to play at least one more season, and after him the team has career backup Drew Stanton and a young-but-unproven Zac Dysert, neither of whom are viewed as franchise quarterbacks.
A look at some mock drafts reveals a growing consensus that if the Cardinals are to take a quarterback, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer is the most likely candidate. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II are the other potential options, depending of course on what the teams picking ahead of Arizona do as well as the Cardinals’ evaluations of each prospect.
The other teams Sessler thinks may go QB in the first round are the Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. Of that group, only the Texans do not pick ahead of the Cardinals.
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