Arians: We look for QBs every year, had some taken right ahead of us
Mar 28, 2017, 11:18 AM | Updated: 1:56 pm
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Talk about whether or not the Cardinals will draft a quarterback will persist until they, you know, draft a quarterback.
Or, maybe, go through the entire 2017 draft without taking one.
Last week, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the team will select a quarterback “if the right one falls.”
“I’ve been really impressed with some of them, now that I’ve met them and worked them out and there are six good arms in the draft. There’s more than just one quarterback.”
The Cardinals are in this position because the quarterback spot has been largely ignored over the last few seasons. The team chose Logan Thomas in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, but has not spent a first-round pick on a passer since 2006, when Matt Leinart was the guy.
Arians has been the Cardinals’ coach since 2013, so he’s not responsible for the entire drought. And, it turns out, that the team has not taken a quarterback over the last couple of drafts has little to do with not liking any.
“We look every year,” Arians told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio Tuesday. “We had, the last two years, we’ve had a guy, next is our pick, somebody took him right in front of us.
“You never want to push a quarterback up the board in any round; that’s when you make mistakes, just to have a quarterback.”
Who might Arians be referring to?
Last year they were rumored to have interest in Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, but he was off the board in the first round when the Denver Broncos traded up to 26 to grab him. The Cardinals, meanwhile, had the 29th overall selection.
Also in 2016, North Carolina State’s Jacoby Brissett was taken by the New England Patriots in the third round, No. 91 overall, just head of the Cardinals’ third-round pick, which was No. 92.
Finally, in the fifth round, the Cardinals nabbed Marqui Christian 167th overall while Stanford’s Kevin Hogan went off the board at No. 162 to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Going back to the 2015 draft, there were no quarterbacks taken early just ahead of the Cardinals, though Trevor Siemian, who started for the Denver Broncos last season, was chosen with the 250th overall pick, while the Cardinals were sitting with No. 256.
There is also the possibility that the Cardinals were set to make some trades, provided the player they wanted was still around, only to have the deals fall apart because they weren’t.
In trying to determine which of this year’s quarterbacks are worth a pick, Arians said one of his favorite things to do is visit with them, get to know them and put them on board.
“And see as much as you can to evaluate the two muscles that you play the position with, that’s your brain and your heart,” he added.
If finding franchise quarterbacks was easy, every team would have one. The Cardinals currently have Carson Palmer as their starter, but he is 37 years old and considered retirement this past offseason. He may stick around for the 2018 season, as his contract runs through then, but nothing is a given.
In a lot of ways it would make sense for the Cardinals to address finding his successor in this year’s draft, and according to mock drafts there should be some options for them. Arizona could also use one of its later-round selections in hopes of finding a gem, a la Dak Prescott, but the odds of landing a star decrease as the draft moves along.
In thinking of Prescott and his success, Arians noted that part of the trouble for the top-tier of quarterbacks is they usually get drafted high to bad teams, which makes an impact.
“If you slide to the 11th, 12th or 13th pick, you’re really better off,” he said.
Incidentally, the Cardinals have the 13th pick in this year’s draft, as well as solid team that would not need a rookie QB to play right away. Along with that, the Cardinals have a veteran quarterback in Palmer who said he would like to mentor a young passer.
In a perfect world that is exactly how it would work, but often times teams cannot afford to wait. In that case, Arians said, if a rookie quarterback is forced to play then the team needs to exercise a level of patience that is not often found in sports.
Part of the issue is many of the college offenses quarterbacks come from do not translate to the NFL, which means it is a bit more difficult to get a read on them.
“I think that’s making it harder for the plug-and-play quarterback,” Arians said. “There’s so much more to learn fundamentally and assignment-wise than when Peyton (Manning) was coming out, and doing Ryan Leaf, and Peyton, they were in offenses that you could see them do everything you wanted to see.
“Andrew Luck, RG III, same type of thing — RG III was spread, you knew he had to learn more — but really I thought he was going to be a great one. But so much of it is just hit or miss on the grit; you can’t evaluate the grit, and that’s what separates them.”