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Carson Palmer would enjoy mentoring Cardinals’ QB of future

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Carson Palmer has no inside information on the Cardinals’ draft plans, but, if Arizona selects a quarterback next month to groom as his replacement, Palmer said he would enjoy playing the role of mentor.

“I’ve been in that mentor role for a decade now, really,” Palmer said Saturday before the Bruce Arians Golf Classic at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler. “Not to float my own boat, but I think I’m pretty good at it. I know I’ve had many great mentors and role models and guys to look up to; guys I’ve learned a lot from so I know how to approach being that guy and I’ve been doing it for a long time.”

When Palmer broke into the league with Cincinnati in 2004, veteran Jon Kitna had already been with the Bengals for three seasons and in the NFL for seven seasons.

“Probably the most instrumental individual in my career,” Palmer said of Kitna. “It was only for a handful of years but he continued to mentor me when he was in Detroit; when he was in Dallas.

“He’s what you want in the room is a guy like him that’s stable. He’s a great role model for teammates; he’s a great father role model. There was a lot to look up to… there still is. I still have a great relationship with him and appreciate what he did for me early on. He’s a true vet and a true mentor.”

Palmer said he applies lessons he learned from Kitna (and others) to his own approach, but he doesn’t try to mimic Kitna’s approach.

“We’re very different,” Palmer said. “I think it’s important, whether it be learning from how a guy takes care of his body, how a guy studies, how a guy is a mentor, how a guy is a leader, you take bits and pieces that fit the person you are and you don’t try to be somebody you’re not.

“If you’re not the same person, like Jon and I aren’t, you’ve got to take bits and pieces and make them your own and move on from there.”

As there is every offseason, there has been plenty of debate about the strength of this quarterback class, relative to past classes.

“It’s tough to compare class to class because a lot of times it takes a couple years to figure out,” Palmer said. “The 2013 class, it has taken until now to really realize that it wasn’t a very strong class so it’s way too early.

“We’ll see in a couple of years but I know there’s a handful of guys that are expected to be at the top of the draft. That’s the gazillion dollar question is which one’s the best and how good are they?”

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II and Miami’s Brad Kaaya are among the top-rated QBs in this year’s draft, to be held April 27 to 29 in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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