With the 2017 NFL Draft in the books the Arizona Cardinals move forward with a missing piece: the successor to Carson Palmer.
Leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft there was no clear-cut favorite at quarterback. Many loved DeShone Kizer early in the process before Mitch Trubisky became an early favorite back in January. Deshaun Watson was always a top choice but some weren’t in love with him. Patrick Mahomes came on late, showing a big-play ability under center that many organizations look for. Even Davis Webb, who would’ve been Mahomes’ backup had he not transferred to Cal, was rumored to be a late first-rounder.
At the end of the day, three teams all wanted Trubisky, Watson and Mahomes enough to pay a hefty fee to trade up in the first round to select them. None of those teams, however, included the Arizona Cardinals.
Many people, including myself, thought general manager Steve Keim would’ve taken any of the above mentioned signal callers in one of the first two rounds. They opted for edge rusher Haason Reddick in round one and Budda Baker in Round 2 instead.
Keim had multiple options on Day 3 as well. Nathan Peterman and Brad Kaaya went in Rounds 5 and 6, respectively. Joshua Dobbs went in Round 4, and Chad Kelly wasn’t selected until the last pick of the draft, 253rd overall, as Mr. Irrelevant.
You have to applaud an organization for not pulling the trigger on a quarterback they’re not comfortable with. Keim was quoted saying, per Pro Football Talk:
“There’s no doubt that it’s a quarterback-driven league and you have to identify a young quarterback for our future. But at the same time, I think you can get in trouble by forcing that pick”.
The Cardinals brass wasn’t comfortable with this quarterback class. That forces us to assume that they’ve already looking forward to next season. And by next season, I mean the star-studded quarterback class of the 2018 NFL Draft.
If draft quarterback talk annoys you, you’ll hate draft coverage next offseason. With the likes of Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson expecting to be available (among many, many others), there’ll be plenty of options for Keim in the first round. What’s even more intriguing is that Darnold, Allen and Rosen are all 6-4 and taller — right in head coach Bruce Arians’ wheelhouse.
Those are just the four of the obvious names you already expect to hear. There’s a lot more talent when you continue to dig. Mason Rudolph sits at 6-5 and has a big arm Arians loves. Luke Falk out of Washington State (6-4) is a dark horse first-round talent that could catch Keim’s eye as well.