Kiper: Baker Mayfield ‘in range’ for Arizona Cardinals

Jan 26, 2018, 12:31 PM | Updated: 2:45 pm
North Squad quarterback Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma (6) throws a pass during the North's team colleg...
North Squad quarterback Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma (6) throws a pass during the North's team college football practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
(AP Photo/Butch Dill)
LISTEN: Mel Kiper, Jr. - ESPN NFL Draft Analyst

With quarterback Carson Palmer retired and not a single signal caller under contract in 2018, it’s no question the Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback.

But will they look to free agency or the upcoming NFL Draft to fill the void?

When asked which quarterback fit Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s offensive scheme, ESPN’s NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. felt the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner could be in line for Arizona.

“The quarterback that I think is going to be in range would be (Baker) Mayfield,” Kiper said while on with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “Baker Mayfield will draw comparisons to a lot of quarterbacks because he’s six feet and change. So who’s he going to draw comparisons to? You’re going to hear Drew Brees and Russell Wilson a lot for people who love Baker Mayfield so if you think he can develop into that kind of quarterback you’re taking him very high.

“That’s why Baker Mayfield may be that quarterback that, by the time we get to late April, is within range for a team like Arizona, Washington, somebody like that to maybe go up and get.”

Related: Arizona Cardinals 2018 Mock Draft Tracker

It may not be much of a surprise as Mayfield produced in 2017, completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns with just six interceptions on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.

But if the Cardinals do go with Mayfield, will he translate to a franchise quarterback right away?

With the NFL and college football continuing to grow away from one another, Kiper believes the way of the old franchise quarterback is out the door.

“Everything right now is so different than it was, you used to have a three to five-year period to work and develop your quarterback,” Kiper said. “It’s just amazing how they expect these quarterbacks to come in and be ready, everybody has to be ready at the same time, and as you guys know, every quarterback isn’t.”

If the Cardinals move on from, or miss out on, Mayfield, they could go with Josh Allen out of Wyoming or Lamar Jackson out of Louisville to help fill the team’s need.

The Arizona Cardinals hold the No. 15 pick, barring any trades, in the upcoming NFL Draft.

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Kiper: Baker Mayfield ‘in range’ for Arizona Cardinals