Apr. 2, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians (left) with quarterback quarterback Carson Palmer during a press conference to announce his signing with the team at the Cardinals practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals: Who Should the Cardinals Target Next Season?

Apr. 2, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians (left) with quarterback quarterback Carson Palmer during a press conference to announce his signing with the team at the Cardinals practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let the speculation begin for the Arizona Cardinals. Or should I say, “it’s never too early to start preparing for the future.”

Most Cardinal fans would say; “how could you start thinking about who the Cardinals should target (next year) in the 2014 season? We haven’t even had a 2013 season yet.”

However (for NFL Franchises), it’s an ongoing and highly competitive process for general managers and their scouting department to find their next superstar. It’s simply never too early for teams to start planning for the future.

It’s an ongoing process for organizations to find an elite prospect at each position; in search for the ultimate prize, the Lombardi Trophy.

The searches for elite prospects are not only annually, scouts have a watchful eye on supreme prospects as early as in high school. In this supremely competitive sport, scouts will search the bottom of the earth for those elite prospects that will put them over the top, ahead of their fierce competition.

Likewise for the Arizona Cardinals, it simply is never too early to start thinking about filling their specific needs. After three consecutive disappointing seasons (for the Redbirds) since their Super Bowl run, for most, it would seem to be quite easy to see the glaring weaknesses or the team’s perceived needs.

However, after a very successful offseason acquiring some key free agents and (potentially) a solid draft; on the surface, it would seem to be very difficult to predict team needs for the Redbirds for the 2014 season.

Never the less, if I were to predict team needs as of today with what we (I) know today. Here is my best guess:

But Before I give you my best guess, here is a recent quote from new Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic:

“The priority, quarterback and left tackle, is now the vogue,” Arians said, “You can find anybody to run and catch. You can find guys who play in the middle.”

“Left tackle and quarterback, God makes them.”

If you ask me, that is spot on and a beautiful statement. In a nut shell, this is precisely the Cardinals two pressing needs and has been for many years now.  Other than a brief moment with Kurt Warner (2007-2009) at the helm, this has been an ongoing issue for many years.

Yes I know, I hear the rumblings from fans; “yes the Cardinals definitely need a premier left tackle but Carson Palmer was recently acquired through a trade. Let’s see how all this plays out this year (with Palmer) to see if there is still a pressing need at the QB position.”

However, after the sudden retirement of Kurt Warner, it is not too difficult to see why it is crucial to find the next young gun or should I say franchise quarterback in waiting. Yes we all do hope that Palmer will pan out and can fill the quarterback shoes for the short-term. But the Cardinals must not let this happen a second time. That is, get caught with their pants down, so to speak.

In my opinion, the Redbirds must continue to turn over every leaf and every stone to finally find their (future) elite young franchise QB and Left tackle for the long-term.  I know this is no easy task to accomplish, however, If this somehow were to happen (finding a franchise QB and left tackle), I believe everything else would fall into place.

We found that out during Kurt Warner’s run at the helm. A franchise quarterback can make everyone in the organization look like geniuses.

So here is the bottom line team needs, in my opinion:

First: a young franchise quarterback to groom.

Second:  a franchise left tackle to protect the franchise QB.

Third:  it remains to be seen whether or not the Cardinals have enough help inside on the offensive line.

Fourth:  I also see a potential need in the near future inside on the defensive line, as Dockett could be on the tail end of his very productive career. Furthermore, is Dan Williams the answer at nose tackle?

Fifth:  it goes without saying; the Cardinals will continue to search for a premiere pas-rusher. Do they now have one on the current roster? We shall soon see.

Other than that, we will have to wait and see how all this plays out (this year) during the 2013 season for the Arizona Cardinals.

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Tags: Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer Nfl Draft NFL Free Agency

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