The Arizona Cardinals did not get their quarterback of the future in the NFL Draft.
Three of the top-rated prospects were gone before they were on the clock in the first round, and as the event continued to move forward, their board continued to lead them to different positions.
Afterwards, head coach Bruce Arians was asked if he was surprised they didn’t land a QB in the draft, especially after they spent much of the pre-draft process talking about a desire to do so.
“It’s just how it goes, brother,” he said.
Since then, the Cardinals did agree to a contract with undrafted rookie free agent Trevor Knight, though odds of him turning into a franchise quarterback are not high.
So, the lack of a more sure-thing young option leaves the Cardinals with a bit of uncertainty at the position, with starter Carson Palmer having considered retirement this past offseason and backup Drew Stanton, who will turn 33 in May, set to become a free agent after the 2017 campaign. The only other QB on the roster is Zac Dysert, who has never appeared in an NFL game.
While that may seem like reason for concern, offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said things are alright.
“There’s no need to panic,” he told Doug and Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station Wednesday morning. “We have Carson, and we’ve got Drew and we have Zac on the roster.
“We’re bringing in some free agent quarterbacks here in the next couple weeks for the rookie mini-camp, and hopefully there’s upside in one or both of those guys.”
The 6-foot-1, 219-pound Knight played his first three seasons for Oklahoma, but spent last year with Texas A&M. As a senior, he completed 53.3 percent of his passes for 2,432 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions while also running for 10 scores.
While it is not unheard of for undrafted free agents to develop into quality NFL players or even stars, the Cardinals clearly will not be banking on Knight assuming the reigns from Palmer when the 37-year-old ultimately decides to call it a career.
Another name that has surfaced recently is Blaine Gabbert, the 10th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft who has spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and, most recently, San Francisco 49ers.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound QB has the size Cardinals coach Bruce Arians generally looks for in his quarterbacks, but has generally struggled to gain much traction over his six seasons in the NFL. In 43 career games — 40 of them starts — he has completed 56 percent of his passes for 7,351 yards and 38 touchdowns with 37 interceptions.
Gabbert’s career seemed like it might be trending up in 2015, however, as he passed for 2,031 yards and 10 touchdowns with seven picks for the 49ers, playing well enough to earn the starting job heading into 2016. However, he underwhelmed, losing his place on the depth chart after five games.
Asked about Gabbert, Goodwin said he had no clue about anything with him.
“All I know is the guys I see on the grass every day, and I have not seen him so that’s not an issue I want to talk about,” he added.
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