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Cardinals could have options at No. 7

3/28/2013

Anyone familiar with the Arizona Cardinals' recent offensive struggles can be forgiven for thinking the team absolutely, positively must select a quarterback with its 2013 first-round draft choice.

2006-12 Drafts: 1st-round Picks Traded

The Cardinals ranked last in Total QBR and NFL passer rating on their way to a 5-11 record.

But what if Arizona does not see a quarterback worth selecting when on the clock with the seventh overall choice? What if coach Bruce Arians is serious about Drew Stanton projecting as a quality starter?

A few years ago, Arizona might have been stuck with that seventh overall choice. Teams weren't all that eager to acquire picks that early because the rookie salary structure made those choices especially costly.

This year, the Cardinals could have some options. Contracts for highly drafted rookies have come down in price over the past two drafts. Teams could be more willing to acquire those choices.

Six of the top seven picks in 2012 changed hands.

One year does not make a trend, of course. Only two of the top 10 choices changed hands in 2011 even though the same favorable salary structure was in place. Still, the spike in trades near the top of the draft provides some precedent, at least.

The chart shows how many first-round picks were traded by year and by where those picks fell within the round. I checked to see if there were any strong positional tendencies associated with those trades. Nothing jumped out right away.