Cardinals need QB, but maybe not with No. 5 pick

The Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback, the days of their

smooth-operating offense since Kurt Warner’s retirement have been

ugly indeed.

Whether they use the fifth overall pick in next week’s NFL draft

to get one is questionable, though, since they probably would

prefer a veteran quarterback and they have so many needs

elsewhere.

Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller would provide

much-needed help for a pass rush that was among the worst in the

NFL, but he could be gone, with Buffalo at No. 3 the most

speculated destination.

That could leave Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert an

irresistible pick. After all, Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt – as

offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers – had some pretty

good results with a rookie quarterback named Ben

Roethlisberger.

”Look at what (Sam) Bradford and (Matt) Ryan and (Joe) Flacco

have done the last couple of years,” Whisenhunt said. ”They’ve

gone in there and played and done well.”

If they are to address the quarterback situation via free agency

or trade, that will have to wait for a resolution to the collective

bargaining situation. Possibilities include signing a free agent,

such as Marc Bulger, or making a trade, perhaps with Philadelphia

for Kevin Kolb.

Given the depth at quarterback in the draft, the Cardinals could

well pick one in the second round, long after Heisman Trophy winner

Cam Netwon and Gabbert are gone.

”We’ve said that that’s a position that we feel is important

that we address,” Whisenhunt said. ”There’s going to be avenues

for us to address it. This is the first opportunity that we’ve had

and if it’s the right fit for us, then by all means.”

After going 5-11, a big step back after consecutive NFC West

championships, needs are many, including the offensive line, inside

linebacker and the secondary.

Bill Davis became the second defensive coordinator fired by

Whisenhunt in his four years in Arizona. Ray Horton is the latest

to try to breathe some fire and efficiency into the 3-4 system. The

Cardinals brought in Joey Porter at outside linebacker, but the

veteran proved to be well past his prime and the position is high

on the list of areas needed to be dealt with in the draft.

That brings up Miller, the Butkus Award winner who led the

nation in sacks and added to his notoriety by becoming one of the

plaintiffs in lawsuits against the NFL over the league’s lockout.

But Miller is coveted by the Bills, maybe others, ahead of Arizona.

North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn could be an option,

although there is some trepidation because he sat out last season

for NCAA rule violations.

Other possibilities include LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson or

even Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green.

The talk with Arizona always goes back to quarterback,

though.

The Cardinals have had extensive meetings with Newton and

Gabbert.

Gabbert is seen as the more pro-ready of the two, and could be

Arizona’s pick even if Newton still is available.

The Cardinals also have been known to trade down. Of course,

nobody was offering any hints in the front office.

”Nothing,” general manager Rod Graves said, ”is off the

board.”