TEMPE, Ariz. -- According to Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, picking a quarterback in the first round of May’s NFL draft is out of the question.
“Why?” Arians responded when asked by Bob McManaman of AZCentral.com what Arians would tell people who want to see Arizona draft a signal-caller with the 20th overall pick.
Arians was right. Why would the Cardinals pick a quarterback in the first round? They don’t need one that badly, but I do think a quarterback needs to be drafted this year.
He told AZCentral: “Well, we’ve got two pretty good ones that are younger (in backups Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley). But for us right now it’s about winning a championship. I don’t think we can afford to have a guy come in like that. I’m not a believer in a guy learning anything sitting on the bench. You have to play. It’s the only way you learn. He’s got to get the reps in practice, he’s got to be under center and throwing all the time or he’s not going to get any better.”
To me, that reads that neither Stanton nor Lindley are the quarterback of the future for the Cardinals. Neither played in 2013. Stanton hasn’t thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2010 and Lindley didn’t play this past season. Both of those guys learned the offense while sitting on the bench. If we’re going with what Arians said -- the only way you learn is by playing -- then how could he feel confident handing the offense to either of those two if starter Carson Palmer went down?
If Arizona drafted a quarterback after the first round, wouldn’t they get the reps in practice like Stanton and Lindley did? Of course. Unless, Arians was hinting at LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who tore his ACL in November and might not be ready until September, if he can even come back to full strength within a year.
I think Arians is being coy. Neither Stanton nor Lindley are the future for Arizona, and with how tough Arians’ scheme was for the Cardinals to learn this past season, it’ll be tougher for a rookie. Continuity is vital for the Cardinals’ offense to succeed and having someone waiting in line behind Palmer can only help that.