The Arizona Cardinals won’t take a quarterback in the first round. Unless they do.

Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Don’t expect the Arizona Cardinals to select a quarterback in the first round. Unless they do.

‘Tis the season for smokescreens, half-truths, and outright deceptions. With the 2017 NFL Draft just around the corner, NFL coaches and general managers are engaged in their annual game of cloak and dagger, in an effort to keep their draft boards and war-room strategies shrouded.

Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim is not immune to this game of misdirection. Historically, however, Keim’s draft-season smokescreens have not included outright lies. Rather, he tends to stick to “GM-speak,” avoidant responses, and omission of details. In other words, there is reason to believe that fans can take Keim at his word – as vague as those words may be.

Amid this season of duplicity, there is one veritable notion regarding the Arizona Cardinals – they intend to select a quarterback in the upcoming draft. This, however, is where the clarity ends.

The Cardinals are probably not drafting a quarterback in the first round…

Steve Keim has consistently warned of the perils of reaching for a quarterback in the draft – especially in the first round. He reiterated this message in a recent interview, indicating that the Cardinals will stick to their board. If this is a smokescreen, Keim has been working the long con since 2013, as he has yet to reach for a quarterback during his tenure as Cardinals GM.

Based on Keim’s comments, the Cardinals will only select a quarterback with the 13th pick if that player’s grade merits the selection. The problem is, if there is a quarterback who grades out that well, he will be off the board before the Cardinals are on the clock. If the Cardinals are unwilling to reach for a quarterback, they are not selecting one with the 13th pick.

The Cardinals’ brass has indicated that they see five or six starting quarterbacks in this draft. If this is the case, they can wait until the second round to select a signal-caller.

… unless they trade up.

If the Cardinals believe that there is one quarterback who stands above the rest in this draft, it is feasible that they could attempt to move up to get their man. However, moving up into the early first round is pricey, and it seems unlikely that Keim would be willing to give up the draft capital necessary to make such a move.

The more likely scenario involves the Cardinals trading for a pick on the back end of the first round. This is a common strategy for teams who hope to take a quarterback ahead of the quarterback-needy teams at the top of the second round. If three quarterbacks come off the board during the first 20 or so picks, don’t be surprised if the Cardinals look to get back into the first round.

But they’re still probably not taking a quarterback in the first round.

Ultimately, however, the Cardinals are likely going to wait until the second round to take their quarterback of the future. If this is indeed the case, they may attempt to move up to get ahead of teams like the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.

Next: Arizona Cardinals: Positions to address in the 2017 draft

Though some fans have grown anxious at the lack of a quarterback-of-the-future, the Cardinals do not have the look of a panicked organization. They will likely look to draft a blue-chip defensive player in the first round, and work the second round for a quarterback.