I wasn’t surprised at all that the Arizona Cardinals decided to bypass a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. While their track record shows them drafting a quarterback in 2010, 2012 and 2014, that trend ended mainly because at this point Arizona doesn’t need a quarterback. Not even one to develop. Carson Palmer is fully entrenched as the starting signal caller with at least two more years left to play at a productive level, and Drew Stanton is the capable backup who just signed a two-year deal. Matt Barkley will battle it out with undrafted free agent Jake Coker from Alabama for the duty to hold the clipboard but let’s be honest, neither one of them is the quarterback of the future for the Cardinals. And taking a quarterback after Round 2 doesn’t work very often either. Those three quarterbacks Arizona took were, in order, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas.
That quarterback of the future for the Cardinals will come next offseason when you can be assured that Arizona will either sign a free agent or draft a quarterback with the plans that he will be the guy to replace what will then be a 37-year-old Palmer.
Sports Illustrated did a mock draft for 2017 in which they had four quarterbacks gone in the first round. They had Brad Kaaya from Miami going No. 1, DeShaun Watson from Clemson going No. 2, Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech going No. 16 and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma gone at No. 30. Obviously its way too early, but a record 15 quarterbacks were drafted this year and that trend will continue in future years as the league is starved for decent quarterback play and the top signal callers like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and Tony Romo are nearing retirement.
And while Arizona could very well find Palmer’s replacement in the 2017 draft class, they also could look to strike gold in the offseason via free agency or trade. One name I continue to speculate on is free agent-to-be Mike Glennon of Tampa Bay. He is in the last year of his contract, only 26 years old, has a strong arm and really just needs an opportunity. Glennon didn’t play at all in 2015 and has only played in 19 games since being a third-round pick for the Bucs out of North Carolina State in 2013. But he has an impressive 29 touchdown to 15 interceptions ratio. For now he is Jameis Winston’s backup and if Winston plays all 16 games and Glennon rides the bench again he can likely be had at a relatively decent price. The monkey wrench in getting Glennon is if he his somehow forced into action, a la Brock Osweiler, and is impressive enough over a series of games to where he draws interest from multiple teams.
Whether it is Glennon or a young quarterback in the draft, make no mistake about this: Arizona will have a quarterback of the future on their roster at this time next year.
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