A few weeks ago, I wrote on the quarterback room of the Cardinals. A quarterback room that Bruce Arians said he thought was one of the best in the NFL. A quarterback room that includes veteran quarterback Carson Palmer backed up by a coaches favorite Drew Stanton and the developmental quarterback hold over from the previous regime in Ryan Lindley.
The consensus in that article, by ROTB'ers, was that Palmer has some where between 2 and 4 years of good play left in him. Remember, he is technically under contract for just 1 more year. Also by consensus, Drew Stanton is likely not the QB of the future but a good backup. Drew Stanton is under contract for just 2 more years. Ryan Lindley hasn't displayed starter potential but the Cards hold his contract for two more years. Essentially, the current Quarterback room will be empty in 2 years under current contracts, with the current starters contract ending after this coming season.
Let's break this down a little further. The Cards just had a year that went beyond our expectations, going 10-6 and competing in the very tough NFC West. Let's call that YEAR 1 of the Keim era, in the books. The upcoming year is YEAR 2 where all of our current quarterbacks are under contract. The following year is YEAR 3, where only Drew Stanton is under contract. The Cards need to find a starting QB by YEAR 4 at the very latest and ideally sooner, by consensus.
It's a no brainer that the Cards will roll with Carson Palmer in Year 2. In year 3 though, it isn't as clear. The Cards could give Drew Stanton a shot at the starting gig in year 3. After all, that's the natural progression you would like your quarterback position to take, building from within. As I mentioned earlier though, there is a low level of confidence amongst Cardinal fans that Stanton or Lindley can be the guy. What if Stanton or Lindley can be the guy ? What if they can't ?
At the end of year 2 of the Keim era, a decision will need to have been made. Either the Cardinals will have found their quarterback of the future in the current quarterback room, thru the draft or thru a reasonable contract extension for Palmer, no more than two years.
If Carson only has 1-4 years left and Stanton and Lindley are only pegged as backups, where do the Cards go from here ? Do the Cards draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft ? Do the Cards give Stanton a shot in year 3 of the Keim era ? Do the Cards take advantage of this deep quarterback draft class and see if they can strike gold with a 2nd, 3rd or 4th round QB ?
Initially I hadn't really looked at any quarterbacks in this draft. Quite frankly I just didn't want to after the past couple off seasons. But, the more I've studied the draft and current quarterback room of the Cards, the more I felt like the Cardinals may have a great opportunity to improve their Quarterback room. There are a number of quarterbacks the Cards may be able to get great value on outside the 1st round.
I don't think drafting a quarterback late improves the quarterback room so I am only looking at QB's I like between the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Here are the quarterbacks that I would be interested in the Cards drafting along with my early short winded impressions of each.
The Portrait of Play Action AJ McCarron
6' - 3" 215 Lbs - Senior 3yr. Starter at Alabama
2013 - 13 Games, 67% Completion, 3063 yards, 28 TD's, 7 INT's
Short winded impressions: Excellent footwork, great play action fake, excellent trajectory and accuracy on the deep ball, nice delivery, doesn't zip the ball in on short routes, good touch on the football, average mobility, money on the crossing routes, can throw on the run, weak on the out routes, big question mark when under pressure from the pass rush. He rarely had any.
The Athletic Risk Taker Aaron Murray
6' - 1" 208 Lbs - 4yr. Starter at Georgia
2013 - 11 Games, 65% Completion, 3075 yards, 26 TD's, 9 INT's
Short winded impressions: Really spins the ball, excellent mobility, toughness, quick twitch hips and excellent feet, throws well on the run, decent deep ball, passionate about the game, below average play fake, literally capable of making any throw, very mobile, big time guts.
The Bambi Legged Booger Cannon Zach Mettenberger
6' - 5" 235 Lbs - Senior 2yr. Starter at LSU
2013 - 12 Games, 65% Completion, 3082 yards, 22 TD's, 8 INT's
Short winded impressions: Bamby legs( Clumsy ), Cannon arm, Tough as nails, No game too big, Good ball placement, Understands the game, Throws without fear in the face of pressure, Average play fake, Holds ball high and tight on drops
I'd be happy with any of these three quarterbacks being drafted outside the 1st round. What do you think ?