NFL Rumors: Cardinals want to trade up for Deshaun Watson
The Arizona Cardinals have questions at quarterback but the answer could be drafting Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft.
With Carson Palmer contemplating retirement, the Arizona Cardinals have to find his successor if they want to contend in the NFC this year and beyond. Palmer has experienced a career renaissance under Bruce Arians but even if he returns for another season in 2017, the Cardinals need a long-term solution in place and that could be Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Arizona is reportedly interested in the two-time Davey O’Brien winner and two-time Heisman finalist who led Clemson to the national championship this season, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
La Canfora reports the Cardinals are very high on Watson and could be willing to trade up from the No. 13 pick in order to make sure they get him. There is a mixed perception on Watson from scouts and draft evaluators. Some have Watson as the No. 1 quarterback in the draft and worthy of being selected in the top five picks while others view Watson as a second or third round prospect.
Arians knows quarterbacks, so if he’s enamored with Watson, it’s a significant endorsement of his talent and his potential in the NFL. With quarterback-needy teams like the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and New York Jets picking ahead of the Cardinals, Watson may not be there at No. 13 so if Arians and general manager Steve Keim fall in love with Watson, they may be ready to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade to get into the top six picks.
Keim has an affinity for Clemson players with former Tigers, Andre Ellington, Chandler Catanzaro and Jaron Brown on the roster. Watson, arguably the greatest player in Clemson history, would certainly fit in the well in Arizona.
If Palmer returns, Watson could still be an option, although they may be less willing to pay the price to move up and preserve those assets to bring in talent to help the team make a run in 2017. Another option to consider is Tony Romo who could be a short-term replacement if Palmer retires with Watson drafted to back him up for a year and serve as insurance in case he suffers another serious injury.