Arians: No glaring needs on Cards' roster heading into draft

TEMPE, Ariz. -- After a free-agency haul that included two defensive linemen, two linebackers and a left guard, the Arizona Cardinals don’t have any glaring holes in their roster heading into the NFL draft, their head coach said.

“There’s not a dying need at any position,” coach Bruce Arians said. “We can take the best players available in this draft and not reach for need at all.

“Free agency was such a big part of what we did to fill needs and get quality people that, I’ve said it a couple times, we could take the team now and go play.”

Now whether or not Arians is telling the truth is tough to determine, especially this time of year when smokescreens become teams’ weapon of choice.

“You tell the truth and everybody thinks you’re lying,” Arians said.

The Cardinals, who pick 24th in the first round, expanded their draft board this year to 130 players, 10 more than it has been in the past, and expect to have between eight and 15 players remaining after Arizona makes the last pick in the draft. That group then becomes Arizona’s priority free agents.

Not having a major need will make the draft a bit easier for GM Steve Keim. He won’t be forced to pick a specific position leaving talent on the board. There are three positions that, historically, tend to be the hardest to find in a draft, Keim explained: left tackles, pass-rushers and fast cornerbacks. Arizona is in need of another pass-rusher and fast corner, but neither are urgent enough needs that would make Keim force a pick.

“To me, longevity-wise, that kills your roster,” Keim said.

“We feel like we can be pretty picky about the type of players we draft and draft the player who has the most immediate impact for us.”

And that player may not be in the top 24.

Last draft, the Cardinals traded down from 20th to 27th to pick safety Deone Bucannon, who played in all 16 games last season, starting nine of them.

“I’m not ruling out that we wouldn’t trade up but, as you’ve seen in the past, any time you can acquire more picks, I think it gives you a better chance of hitting on players,” Keim said.

With their extra pick last season, the Cardinals drafted wide receiver John Brown.

Stockpiling picks may result in Arizona drafting a quarterback -- or not, if you’re a believer in the smokescreen. Last season, Arians said it didn’t make sense to waste a pick on a quarterback who was going to hold a clipboard. Then the Cardinals drafted Logan Thomas in the fourth round and he took 17 offensive snaps all year.

On Wednesday, Arians said there’s not as much of a need this year to draft and develop a quarterback as there was a year ago.

“Obviously, the top two guys are there,” he said. “Do I think there’s anyone else that we would take to press Logan? I don’t think we would in this draft.

“That’s not saying we won’t, but I like where he’s at and the progress he’s making.”

Keim feels this year’s draft is “pretty deep” but didn’t want to expand on which positions are the deepest. Arians, however, said the quarterback class isn’t plentiful beyond Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, who are expected to be drafted first and second, respectively.

“I think average,” he said, “at best.”