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Kiper talks draft possibilities for the Cards

For the Arizona Cardinals there has been much talk on who to draft with the fifth overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Draft a defensive player or draft a quarterback.

Option one: Draft one of the top defensive players available such as LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson or Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller to fill a hole in a developing defense.

Option two: Draft either quarterback Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton to throw in the mix with their current collection of young signal-callers.

Wednesday morning, ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. talked with Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf and explained why he thought door number one would be the best route to improving the Cardinals.

“Arizona would be better served to go the route of the defensive player over the quarterback,” Kiper said. “There is no Andrew Luck in this draft. All these quarterbacks have red flags and holes somewhere in their game.”

That’s just the draft guru’s personal opinion though. Speaking to many NFL officials across the league, Kiper is hearing that the Cardinals’ preference may be contrary to his advice.

“I keep hearing Arizona [will choose] Gabbert [if he is there],” Kiper said. “I thought all along that if you had the two young kids, [quarterbacks John Skelton and Max Hall] both of who started games, that maybe you would pass on the two quarterbacks [Gabbert and Newton], neither of whom are elite.”

Regardless, Kiper believes Gabbert and Newton will both be off the board by the time the Cardinals pick rolls around, which could be a blessing in disguise for Arizona if Kiper’s analysis of the top two quarterbacks holds true.

In his most recent mock draft from March 9, Kiper has the Panthers selecting Gabbert with the first overall draft pick and the Bengals nabbing Newton with the pick before the Cards.

And Kiper’s projection of Gabbert to the Panthers is looking all the more certain after the Missouri quarterback’s impressive pro day on March 17.