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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Kiper mock 4.0: Thoughts on Cardinals

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Mel Kiper's fourth mock draft Insider for 2011 provides the foundation for discussing how NFC West teams might proceed this offseason.

I'll conclude with a look at his plans for the Arizona Cardinals, who hold the No. 5 overall choice.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri


Kiper's give: I could also see Arizona getting creative and looking for a veteran arm such as Kolb, but Gabbert is the quarterback in the draft most likely to help a team soonest, and if he's available here, it might be tough for Arizona to pass on him.

Sando's take: Kiper previously had Texas A&M pass-rusher Von Miller heading to Arizona in this slot. Miller went third to Buffalo in this latest mock, and Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was also gone. That left Gabbert as Kiper's highest-rated quarterback remaining. This pick makes sense. The scouting reports on Gabbert describe him as competitive, smart, hard-working, athletic and talented. They raise questions about his deep ball. The Cardinals were not always proficient with the deep ball when Kurt Warner was under center. More than deep passing, Arizona needs greater efficiency from the position and a player the team can rally around. The reports on Gabbert suggest he could deliver on both fronts, but not necessarily right away. Arizona wants its first-round choice to make an immediate impact. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has said he doesn't see a Sam Bradford or Matt Ryan type in this draft. That could make it tough for the team to select a quarterback fifth overall.