Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into the NFL Draft, every single team in the league is looking to make a splash with their first round pick. The best way to make headlines? Draft a quarterback.
Speculation has run rampant about how the Arizona Cardinals are targeting quarterbacks Derek Carr and Blake Bortles, should they still be on the board at #20 when the Cardinals pick, but drafting either would be a cataclysmic mistake.
Finishing the year at 10-6, the Cardinals nearly managed to snag a playoff berth. Unlike teams drafting in the top 10, they lack embarrassment by the effort put forth in 2013-14.
While Carson Palmer will turn 35 at the end of next season, his job is not immediately in jeopardy. If there were ever a time to draft a young quarterback who needs some seasoning, now would be that time.
First round picks make an immediate impact. Very rarely, players taken among the first 32 are just projects who ride the bench. The drafting of either Carr or Bortles would be precisely that type of move.
As much of a luxury as a potential franchise quarterback could be, it is simply not worth the first round gamble.
Later on in the draft, former college stars such as Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Alabama’s AJ McCarron will be available. These two players dominated at the college level and were at the forefront of the Heisman conversation heading into the beginning of last season.
Regardless if either man is taken in anywhere from the second-to-sixth round, they will be a project. Learning under the tutelage of Carson Palmer, neither will have to jump immediately into the starting role and transform a franchise.
Not to mention, there are a litany of other needs.
Safety: Should Ha-Ha Clinton Dix of Alabama miraculously fall to the Cardinals, he would be a no-brainer selection. More likely to be on the board is Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.
Wide Receiver: Two intriguing names stick out: Cody Latimer of Indiana, and Brandin Cooks of Oregon State. Latimer could begin the season on the opposite side of Larry Fitzgerald; he is that type of possession receiver. Cooks, on the other hand, would be a “home run” type receiver. As fast as a gust of wind, Cooks can absolutely fly. Both men have a decent chance of being on the board when the Cardinals select, but with a deep draft at the receiver position, they may have to continue to wait.
Tight End: Realistically, the only tight end up for first-round consideration should be Eric Ebron. Should the New York Giants fall asleep at #12 and not take him–the Cardinals will have to jump at the opportunity. Outside of Ebron, the Cardinals will surely wait until later in the draft to grab a tight end.
Outside Linebacker: This is where if I was a betting man; I would side with the Cardinals going. With almost 100% certainty, one of either, Anthony Barr, C.J. Mosley and Ryan Shazier will be available at this point. All three come from major Division I programs (UCLA, Alabama and Ohio State, respectively) and tore up the conference they played in.
Where do you see the Cardinals going with the #20 overall pick?