As the 2017 NFL Draft approaches, the speculation surrounding the Arizona Cardinals and their quarterback of the future only continues to grow.
With 37-year-old Carson Palmer not committing to anything past the 2017 season, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim might be tempted to pluck a member of this year’s quarterback class with a first-round pick and keep him on the sidelines while learning from veterans.
But who will that quarterback be if such a pick occurs?
We won’t know the answer to that question until Thursday, April 27, when the Cardinals send their draft card up to the podium, but there has been no shortage of stories connecting the team to different QBs. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer have all been linked to Arizona in mock drafts in the last few months.
When it comes to which quarterback fits the best with Arizona, the choice for one writer is clear.
Matt Bowen of ESPN published an article Tuesday morning pinpointing the best fit for each of this year’s quarterbacks, and he believes the desert is the best place for Kizer.
Under head coach Bruce Arians, Arizona is going to attack opposing defenses vertically. In fact, the past two seasons, the Cardinals have thrown the third-most passes of 20 or more yards downfield (159). Put Kizer in this system, and let him rip it over the top. He has the size to stand in the pocket, take a shot and still deliver the ball.
According to Pro Football Focus, Kizer didn’t exactly excel in the deep passing game for the Irish in 2016, completing 23-of-61 deep throws for 769 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. His adjusted completion percentage of 39.3 was in the middle of the pack in that category among draft-eligible quarterbacks.
With Carson Palmer, 37, in the final stage of his career, the Cardinals need to invest in the position. Kizer could sit for a year, clean up his footwork and begin to develop that massive upside under Arians. Along with the deep ball, he has the talent to hit intermediate routes, work the quick game and give Arians some creative options due to his athleticism.
In terms of fit for the draft’s other top QBs, Bowen has Watson to Cleveland, Trubisky to San Francisco and Mahomes to Kansas City.
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