Top 10 Player Countdown: #6 Carson Palmer


May 14, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) drops back to pass during organized team activities at the Cardinals Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Palmer has yet to play a game in a Cardinals uniform, but that didn’t prevent the former first overall draft pick from making the list.

The seasoned veteran was acquired in a trade with the Oakland Raiders in order to fill the void at the quarterback position. While there are certainly better quarterbacks in the NFL, the addition of Palmer was the best move for the Cardinals given the slate of options they had.  He is the perfect quarterback for the way head coach Bruce Arians wants to play football.

Arians likes to throw the football often and deep, so he needed a signal-caller with a strong arm. He also needed someone who could get the ball into tight spaces and make quick decisions. Palmer fits that description almost perfectly.

In his final season in Oakland, Palmer completed 60 percent of his passes and put up 4,000 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He did this with an underwhelming supporting cast. Now, he has Larry Fitzgerald and the rest of the Cardinals offensive unit to work with, which should help his production even more.

Looking at his career as a whole, Palmer has a respectable statistical standing. His career passer rating is 86.2, and he has 189 touchdowns and 130 picks in his career. Palmer struggled early as a starter for the Bengals, but his great size and arm strength helped him become a very good quarterback and a two-time Pro Bowler.

Of course, the process of quarterback judging is not purely reliant on the quarterback. The four quarterbacks started by the Cardinals were all average at best, but the offensive line that surrendered 58 sacks wasn’t much help. Bringing in a pocket passer like Palmer required that the team fix its dismal front line. The Cardinals did so, using their first pick in the draft (seventh overall) on guard Jonathan Cooper.

Carson Palmer should be both happy and successful as an Arizona Cardinal. He will be playing in a scheme that fits well with his skill set, and he will have weapons around him to help make him look even better. There’s no doubt he will make the Cardinals offense far better, or at least watchable, in 2013.

He has showcased his talent over a long period of time and should continue to be successful in the desert. Carson Palmer is more than deserving of a spot on the list of the best players the Cardinals currently have, and he should keep the spirits of Cardinals fans upright in 2013.

Assuming the offensive line can keep him upright…