Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers go over Arizona Cardinals First round pick.
Diana Payan/ azcentral.com
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The Cardinals keep bringing in QBs. What does it mean? Mark Faller and Bob McManaman discuss the team and the NFL draft.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley discuss the University of Phoenix getting out of its sponsorship deal with the Cardinals’ stadium and the tanking Suns.
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USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero recaps the NFL owners meeting and the proposed league rule changes.
USA TODAY Sports
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Bruce Arianas likes full-time officials, centralized replay and says there’s 1 QB in upcoming draft who’s plug-and-play. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Dan Bickley discusses the NFL’s commercial breaks, kickers and touchdowns celebrations, as well as Tom Brady and the Cardinals drafting a QB.
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Coaches of the National Football Conference take questions from the media in Phoenix on March 29, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers and other reporters talk with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians at the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Video by Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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azcentral sports’ Dan Bickley talks about the NFL moving the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas.
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Bob McManaman of azcentral sports talks to AFC coaches at the annual NFL owners meeting at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Bob McManaman and Kent Somers at the NFL owner’s meetings: Coaches of AFC teams meet the media at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Video: Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians discusses free agency, quarterbacks and cornerbacks in the draft on Wednesday night. Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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Cardinals GM Steve Keim discusses this year’s rookie quarterback class ahead of the NFL draft on Wednesday night. Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero examines the big issues expected to be on the docket next week at NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.
USA TODAY Sports
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Bob McManaman tackle the Cardinals and the draft and the latest with Roger Goodell and the NFL.
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Shot Clock: Why isn’t Paul Goldschmidt playing? Will Cardinals draft QB Mitchell Trubisky? Kurt Warner also had a Super Bowl jersey stolen? The Shot Clock tackles the burning topics in Arizona sports.
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Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins says he did not demand a trade away from the team, but instead asked about the franchise’s plans after having the franchise tag placed on him.
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The MMQB’s Andy Benoit takes a look at the on-field problem facing free agent QB Colin Kaepernick.
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Free agent kicker Phil Dawson signed a 2-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on March 10, 2017 at the Cardinals training facility in Tempe.
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Shot Clock: NFL free agency moves, including Chandler Jones staying and Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson likely leaving the Arizona Cardinals. Video: azcentral sports
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The Texans have traded quarterback Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round draft pick to the Browns, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news.
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Quarterback Tony Romo posted a message on Instagram to say goodbye to all the Dallas Cowboys fans who supported him during the course of his 13-year career.
USA TODAY Sports
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Washington Quarterback Kirk Cousins reportedly asked Dan Snyder to trade him, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting Snyder told Cousins not to get his hopes up.
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Shot Clock: The beginning of the new NFL year, what the Cardinals’ chances are for keeping Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson and who might make an impact around the league. Video: azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero fills you in on how the top quarterback prospects fared during Day 4 of the NFL Scouting Combine.
USA TODAY Sports
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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson said he could benefit from backing up a veteran when he enters the NFL. Video: Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 5,052 total and 41 TDs with 10 INTs in 2016 at Texas Tech. Video: Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Lorenzo Reyes gives insight as to which teams will be searching for a quarterback at the NFL Scouting Combine.
USA TODAY Sports
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John Ross, former wide receiver from the University of Washington, broke Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record at the NFL Combine.
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Washington receiver John Ross in 2016 was a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 standout with 81 catches for 1,150 yards and 17 TDs . Video: Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Lindsay H. Jones says that San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch spoke very highly of a number of high-profile quarterback prospects.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley break down the NBA MVP race and a possible reunion in the Cardinals defensive backfield.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with GM Steve Keim about how the Cardinals conduct business at the NFL combine and how they will handle their free agents.
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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians discusses finding the team’s future quarterback in the draft.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss Cardinals free agency and Larry Fitzgerald’s reaction to an extra NFL preseason game. Video: azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis gives us his top five picks of the 2017 NFL draft.
USA TODAY Sports
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Not everyone is happy that ex-Cardinals WR Michael Floyd, who was waived by the Cardinals three days after an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, is a Super Bowl champion. Video: azcentral sports
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Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald skates for the first time with Arizona Coyotes’ Shane Doan. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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Third time is the charm for former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, as he and four others were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 4, 2017. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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Atlanta and New England will face off in Houston after winning the NFC and AFC championships, respectively.
USA TODAY Sports
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Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Mike Iupati talks about his experiences of growing up fishing on a small island. Video: Michael Chow and David Wallace/azcentral sports
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Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson is also an impersonator, and, was once haunted by a ghost. Video: Michael Chow and David Wallace/azcentral sports
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Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter sits down with Steve Benson of The Republic, and admits a weak spot for good food. Video: Michael Chow and David Wallace/azcentral sports
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Cardinals players reflect on the 2016 season as they clear out their lockers on Monday. Nick Oza/ azcentral sports
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Cardinals Insider Kent Somers says Bruce Arians is high on younger backups who got a chance to play last week. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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Here’s a look at some of the top underclassmen planning on entering the 2017 NFL Draft.
USA TODAY Sports
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A time-lapse view from field level during the pre-game introductions for the Arizona Cardinals: Video: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports
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Watch video of the Cardinals field rolling into University of Phoenix Stadium before the start of the first practice of the 2016 training camp. Video by Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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NFL Draft: We are (almost) on the clock
Shot Clock: QB for Cardinals at No. 13 in NFL draft?
Shot Clock: University of Phoenix Stadium? Not anymore
Goodell says he’ll be in New England for opener
NFL meetings in Phoenix: On Bruce Arians, new rules, the draft
Shot Clock: Good, bad, ugly of NFL meetings
NFC coaches take questions at NFL owners meeting
Kent Somers talks with Bruce Arians at NFC coaches breakfast
Shot Clock: NFL’s curious, but intriguing Vegas move
Bob McManaman talks to AFC coaches
At the NFL owner’s meetings: AFC head coaches meet the media
Cardinals’ Arians talks free agency and draft
Cardinals GM Keim on draft’s QBs
NFL votes on Raiders move, rule changes coming soon
Shot Clock: Which QB do Cardinals draft?
USA Baseball, Trubisky to Cards, Kurt Warner’s stolen jersey
Kirk Cousins says he did not demand trade from Redskins
The issue with Colin Kaepernick
Phil Dawson talks about joining Cardinals
NFL free agency and how it affects the Arizona Cardinals
Reports: Texans trade QB Brock Osweiler to Browns with second-round pick
Tony Romo says goodbye to Cowboys fans
Report: Kirk Cousins asked Dan Snyder to trade him
Shot Clock: Key issues for Cardinals in NFL free agency
NFL Scouting Combine: Quarterbacks show off their skills
Deshaun Watson says it’d be awesome to learn from a veteran NFL quarterback
Patrick Mahomes: I’m a competitor and I want to play
NFL Scouting Combine: Teams looking for quarterbacks
John Ross runs fastest 40-yard dash ever at NFL Combine
Washington Huskies receiver John Ross on his versatility
NFL scouting combine: 49ers high on Kizer
Shot Clock: NBA MVP debate, Cardinals DBs
Cardinals GM Steve Keim on combine process, free agency
Arians on finding quarterback of the future
Shot Clock: Tough free agency decisions looming for Cardinals
NFL mock draft: How will top 5 picks shake out?
Michael Floyd’s message for his critics
Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald skates for the first time with Shane Doan
Kurt Warner inducted to Pro Football Hall of Fame
Falcons and Patriots advance to Super Bowl LI
On the drawing board: Cardinals lineman Mike Iupati
On the drawing board: Tony Jefferson of the Arizona Cardinals
On the drawing board: Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter
Cardinals players clear out lockers, reflect on season
Cardinals looking to play several younger backups
Top underclassmen entering the NFL draft early
Time-lapse: On the field during pre-game festivities
Grass field rolls in at University of Phoenix Stadium
Every draft is important to an NFL team. A successful one replenishes talent at modest prices and provides direction for the future. A poor one not only has an impact on the upcoming season but resonates for years as a team tries to compensate via other avenues, such as free agency, trades and waiver claims.
With that disclaimer out of the way, the next two drafts are especially vital for the Cardinals if they are going to sustain success whenever Carson Palmer, receiver Larry Fitzgerald and coach Bruce Arians call it a career.
There are three reasons the team’s fortunes largely will be determined by how it uses draft picks later this month and in 2018.
Finding a quarterback
This is the most important and most obvious reason. Palmer, 37, is under contract through 2018, but he took about a month after last season to decide to play again this year. That suggests he was closer to retirement than many of us thought.
Since last season ended, General Manager Steve Keim and Arians have said several times they would like to find Palmer’s heir apparent.
Drafting one is the most obvious way, and it’s no surprise the Cardinals have had private meetings and workouts with most of the top quarterbacks in this draft.
The tricky part is determining whether one is worth taking with the 13th overall pick, when a player at any another position could help the Cardinals this season.
“Every year you would like to draft a quarterback,” Arians said at the NFL’s annual meeting last month. “We’ve had two with a name on a card, ready to roll, only to have him go a pick or two ahead of us the last two years.
“You don’t want to reach. You have them set on your board where you want to take that quarterback. If he falls to you, take him. But don’t reach. If you have one (ranked) in the fourth round, don’t take him in the third round. That’s when you screw up your board, and you’re probably putting him in a position where he doesn’t belong.”
Since moving to Arizona in 1988, the Cardinals have used just two first-round picks to obtain a quarterback. In 2006, they drafted Matt Leinart 10th overall, and in 1989, the selected Timm Rosenbach in the supplemental draft, forfeiting their 1990 first-round selection.
With Arians and his staff, the Cardinals are better positioned than ever to identify and draft a quarterback. Arians has a great affinity for them and has worked with great ones, including Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger.
Tom Moore, the Cardinals assistant head coach, is entering his 39th NFL season – all of them as an offensive assistant.
Current quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich played the position for nine NFL seasons, and running backs coach Freddie Kitchens worked with Cardinals quarterbacks the past four seasons.
If that group doesn’t know what an NFL quarterback looks like, then no one does.
An old roster
The Cardinals are old at a handful of positions, partly because those old guys still produce and partly by design.
Palmer turns 38 in December. Fitzgerald will be 34 when the season starts. Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby turns 36 in November, and safety Antoine Bethea will be 33 in July.
At those positions, the Cardinals need players with more favorable expiration dates.
Yet, the Cardinals had age in mind when they signed Dansby and Bethea in free agency last month. Arians and Keim wanted stronger leadership on defense and feel confident players such as Dansby, Bethea and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker, who turns 34 in September, will provide it.
Chances are they will, if they stay healthy. They are not, however, the long-term answers at their positions.
Those players are likely to come in the next two drafts, and they should benefit from being around their elders.
Part of an older player’s duties is mentoring the young, and the Cardinals think rookies joining the team over the next year or two, will be learning from veterans who know how to prepare, to play and to properly conduct themselves off the field.
Fitzgerald has invited rookies to stay at his home over the spring and summer for years. In his second stint with the team in 2013, Dansby was the alpha male on a good defense. Rucker leads with quiet authority and is one of the more popular players on the team. Bethea has a similar reputation, and Palmer is fastidious in his preparation, which will be invaluable to a young quarterback willing to listen.
Number of selections
A team that loses more free agents than it signs is eligible to receive compensatory picks in the following year’s draft.
The Cardinals have an extra fifth-rounder this year and should receive a bounty of extra selections in the 2018 draft.
Nick Korte of overthecap.com, who monitors such things, has the Cardinals with four additional picks in the 2018 draft: one third-rounder, one fourth and two sixths.
That could change based on events of 2017. For instance, Korte points out that he has the Cardinals receiving a sixth-round pick for cornerback Marcus Cooper, who signed with the Bears, but that could become a fifth-round pick depending upon Cooper’s playing time and performance.
Those additional picks could mean additional young, reasonably priced players, and also will give Keim flexibility to move around in the next two drafts to select coveted players.
“This is going to be a really fun draft,” Arians said. “I think there is going to be a lot of action all the way around.”