The last time the Arizona Cardinals selected a quarterback in the NFL Draft was in 2012 when they used a sixth-round pick on San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley.
The last time they took a signal caller in the first round of the NFL Draft was 2006 when they nabbed USC’s Matt Leinart 10th overall.
The team currently has Carson Palmer entrenched as its starter at QB, and while he is still effective, at 34 years old he is not viewed as a long-term answer at the position. But having the veteran on board does afford the Cardinals a chance to add a young quarterback it could groom for a season or two before taking over.
And unless it’s current backup Drew Stanton or Lindley, the team will likely need to find that person in May’s draft. According to Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, that may not be a problem.
“I think it’s pretty deep,” he told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday when asked about this year’s quarterback crop. “I think there’s a lot of numbers.”
McDonough said he wasn’t too enamored with last year’s group of signal callers. A total of 11 were taken, but just three of them — E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith and Mike Glennon — were picked in the draft’s first three rounds.
Much like last season, though, there are very mixed opinions of this year’s class, which is headlined by Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
“I think through three or four rounds you’ll probably see seven, eight, nine, 10 quarterbacks picked,” McDonough said of this year. “So I think there’s a lot of numbers. You might not have the obvious superstars, but you’ll see a lot of quarterbacks coming off the board in the first, second and third round.”
How that might pertain to the Cardinals is unclear. General manager Steve Keim has maintained if the top player on the team’s draft board when they’re on the clock at 20 is a quarterback, then that will be the pick. But the odds of that would seem slim, especially since the Cardinals would seem more apt to try and add someone who will make an impact this season and help in their playoff run.
Besides, there’s a lot of risk involved with using a first-round pick on a passer. McDonough was part of the Jacksonville Jaguars when they selected Blaine Gabbert 10th overall in 2011. Just three years later, Gabbert is in San Francisco and McDonough is with the Cardinals.
“I always say if you’re a personnel guy with a team and you pick the wrong first-round quarterback, you’re going to eventually be a personnel guy with another team,” he said.