Many believe that the Arizona Cardinals will draft a quarterback with their first pick, but it’s anything but a done deal
NFL pundits feel that they have it all figured out for the Arizona Cardinals. The general consensus is that general manager Steve Keim will be selecting a quarterback with the 15th-overall pick of the upcoming draft. Many fans of the franchise would be happy with that outcome, but it’s a scenario that’s anything but guaranteed.
Unfortunately, in a season that ended without a playoff appearance, the Cardinals won too many games in 2017. Finishing with a non-losing record (eight and eight) may have been a good thing from a moral standpoint. But it’s potentially negative effect on Arizona’s ability to land one of the top passers of the 2018 draft could be devastating.
According to a vast majority of draftniks, there are four signal-callers that are considered to be “top-tier”. In no particular order, they are Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen. If one of the “Fab Four” doesn’t fall to the Cards at #15, there are talented options at other positions that management could choose from.
The squad’s most pressing need, aside from finding a quarterback to lead them into the future, is at the number-two cornerback spot. Iowa’s Josh Jackson may be the top cover guy coming out of this year’s class, and could very well be there when the Cardinals pick. The 6’1″, 190 pounder intercepted five balls in ’17, and registered an outstanding 18 passes defensed to boot.
With the free agent defections of both John and Jaron Brown, Arizona is suddenly in need of some help at wide receiver. The gifted Calvin Ridley has put together three superb campaigns at the University of Alabama. The 23-year old has tallied 224 receptions, 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns during his collegiate career.
Safety Antoine Bethea played well last year, but will turn 34 years old in July. A big-time prospect like Derwin James would be a solid first-round pick. The 6’2″, 213 pounder amassed 84 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed as a Florida State Seminole in ’17.
The Cards are set at defensive end (Chandler Jones, Markus Golden), but the line’s interior could use an upgrade. Da’Ron Payne’s specialty is stopping the run, but the 6’2″, 315 pounder can rush the quarterback as well. The Alabama junior would fit nicely alongside veteran Corey Peters in the middle of the Cardinals’ new 4-3 defense.
Free agent addition Andre Smith is basically a one or two-year band-aid for the right tackle position. Drafting Mike McGlinchey to eventually take over for the long-time Cincinnati Bengal could be a smart decision. The mammoth (6’7″, 318) Notre Dame senior and current starter D.J. Humphries could team to be bookend tackles in the desert for years to come.
There’s obviously alternative options for the organization in the first round. A quarterback would be preferred, but is not necessarily a necessity. We are all just a couple of weeks away from knowing the front office’s final decision on the matter.