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The Arizona Cardinals quarterback quandry: The 2018 NFL Draft

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Will the draft play out better than free agency in 2018 for the Arizona Cardinals QB options?

Kentucky v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Last time, we talked about the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation in 2018, as a brief look forward before the 2017 season. The way I did that was mentioning the free agents available, and some realistic expectations from the free agent crop.

As mentioned before, the Cardinals in 2018 could be without any of their quarterbacks, with Carson Palmer possibly retiring, Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert hitting the open market next offseason, and Trevor Knight attempting to make the roster, but that seems dim. In this article, I will begin to assess next year’s draft class, and will attempt to give realistic solutions.

Draft:

Tier 1:

Sam Darnold - Southern California: This is the favorite to be selected number 1 next year, so a few things would have to happen for the Cardinals to even sniff the opportunity to draft Sam Darnold. A. We need to get the first pick, highly unrealistic, as the Cards seem destined to either make the playoffs, or get close to it. B. We realistically don't have a lot of trade capital to get to the top of the draft. So that's a stern 'no' on Darnold, not because of lack of experience (because he's only started 1 season), but because he would cost a boatload of talent/draft picks. Oh, and did I mention the reports of him returning to USC?

Projected: top 5

Josh Allen - Wyoming: My last point was that Sam Darnold could be returning to USC after the college season, so that would leave Josh Allen: a tall QB with a strong arm, but makes 'daring' throws. If Darnold returns, that would make Josh Allen the number one pick, right? Then the same dilemma that plagues Darnold going to the Cardinals would also plague Allen, right? I'd say so.

Projected: top 5

Tier 2:

Lamar Jackson - Louisville: Heisman finalist and winner, Lamar Jackson is a coveted QB with a skill-set that reminds me of Johnny Manziel, without all the drama, and maybe a little bit more focus on football. Jackson was horrendous during the bowl season; can he prove to be an effective quarterback when the games are more important? He's a tier behind Darnold and Allen, but that's because of the uncertainties that face Jackson.

Projected: top 15

Tier 3:

Josh Rosen - UCLA: I don't believe in Rosen; main reason is that he seems like a guy who is trying way too hard on certain throws. Granted, his talent at UCLA didn't help him last year, but then injuries played a role. Can Rosen be a starting QB in the NFL? He just needs to prove stability and the ability to make throws under pressure, why not? This would be the first quarterback reachable by the Cardinals, in my honest opinion. But is he worth it?

Projected: mid-to-late round 1

Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma: On-the-field, Baker Mayfield is a tier 2 quarterback, off-the-field is a different story altogether. If not for a questionable decision by Mayfield, he may be one of the top QB's in the class. Now he's looking at a potential 'drop' for the sooner. Although, he could be a reasonable steal at the end of the first round.

Projected: late round 1

Tier 4:

Luke Falk - Washington State: Someone had to take a step back, and no matter how much admiration I have for the cougar, Luke Falk will be my choice. The talent in this draft is SO damn deep, if you need a QB next year, this is the draft for you. His ability to throw intermediate routes has me foaming.

Projected: early round 2

Nick Fitzgerald - Mississippi State: Tall and athletic QB prospect is coming into next year with some question marks. I love his athletic traits, as he seems like a Cam Newton-esque type of player, one who can make you look stupid by simply running you over. Fitzgerald is also a gunslinger, sort of. Maybe his long ball could use some more accuracy, but seems like a Bruce Arians type of pick.

Projected: early round 2

Tier 5:

Chase Litton - Marshall: There hasn't been a successful (at least 20 TD's) Marshall quarterback since Byron Leftwich, so why is Chase Litton being considered a 'future and undiscovered' talent by many? Because, contrary to popular belief, if this were any other draft (2013, anyone?), Litton would be a top-15 pick, but this is the deepest draft I've personally ever seen. Yes, Litton if you look him up, is lanky, as in he is 6'6'' and 211 pounds. Skinny, but a pro-style QB. 24 touchdowns don't throw themselves.

Projected: mid-to-late round 2

Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma State: This senior returned to recoup his draft stock, but he is facing very strong odds to be forced to be the 'bottom of the top' prospects. Rudolph is a tremendous slinger, as he can put it out on a R-O-P-E. Personally, he isn't as much of an athlete, but put that aside, won't you?

Projected: mid-to-late round 2

Jarrett Stidham - Auburn: If Stidham had stayed at Baylor, even barring an injury, he maybe would have been a stud, but the tides of change sent him to Auburn. I think the talented QB has potential as a deep thrower with velocity. Stidham, just like Litton, are very thin. Add in the competition at the QB position, and Stidham is possibly sliding down the board. Could he beat the odds? Stidham is a great leader at Auburn. Not easy for a transfer athlete.

Projected: late round 2

Tier 6:

J.T. Barrett - Ohio State: Oh, it's so sad to see Barrett fall so far from grace. Once considered one of Urban Meyers' quarterback combos, is now a punching bag for the media. I love his athletic traits, but could Barrett be in the NFL? This is the perfect solution for Barrett, as BA could mold his abilities.

Projected: early round 3

Trace McSorley - Penn State: There is no absolution for McSorley, he is either a developmental QB with lackluster arm talent but the heart of a lion, or someone who will fizzle out of the league just like Akili Smith. The upside is great if he can turn it into something, but can you make a solid bet on McSorley to become something other than a career backup? Or is he a superstar that slips through the cracks like Dak Prescott?

Projected: early round 3

Jake Browning - Washington: No one throws 43 touchdowns and doesn't get attention, or is he a product of the system for the huskies? His arm characteristics reminds me of Sam Bradford, as he has great arm talent, but needs to build up his body (like McSorley and Litton).

Projected: mid-to-late round 3