TEMPE, Ariz. -- With about two-and-a-half weeks until the NFL draft commences in New York City, ESPN NFL draft Insider Mel Kiper broke down the needs for each team in the league.
Overall, his findings for the Cardinals won’t shock anyone, but Kiper placed the need for a quarterback among Arizona’s top priorities. He called the Cardinals’ two back-ups, Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley, “pretty uninspiring.”
“It'd be good to have a developmental option with at least the ceiling of a quality starter behind Palmer, and I don't think there's one on the current roster,” Kiper wrote.
Kiper also cited outside linebacker, safety and wide receiver as three other needs for the Cardinals to address.
While John Abraham is still able-bodied at 36, he won’t be able to play forever. With Arizona facing two mobile quarterbacks -- Seattle’s Russell Wilson and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick -- twice each this season, Kiper sees the need to draft a quick, athletic edge rusher early.
Safety has been a major concern for the Cardinals from Day 1 of the offseason, but Kiper doesn’t think Tyrann Mathieu is the right piece to complete the secondary’s puzzle, which I agree with. Mathieu needs to be able to roam and by having his nose in as many plays as possible, the odds of the ball landing in the Cardinals' favor go up. Because of Mathieu’s versatility, he’s not a true safety which Arizona can land in the draft.
When Kiper wrote about Arizona needing another wide receiver option, he tempered the importance of adding to the position with the possibility of drafting a tight end, which may be a smarter option in Arians’ two-tight end sets. The Cardinals have a bevy of fast No. 4 options, such as Jaron Brown, Teddy Williams and Brittan Golden, who are reliable and cheap.
The position Kiper didn’t address that -- in my opinion -- is also a priority is a right tackle. The Cardinals haven’t re-signed last year’s starter Eric Winston which means they will let Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell and Nate Potter compete for the job until either one or none of them earn the starting nod.