Cardinals may look at QBs in Day 2

TEMPE, Ariz. -- If you read deeper into what Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said last week about drafting a quarterback, Arizona will have its eyes on one when the second round starts Friday afternoon.

After that, a quarterback may not be worth it.

"If the guy that you believe in is there, then you make the move," Arians said. "But, when you start thinking about a quarterback in the third, fourth, fifth round, is he really going to beat your second and third guy? Why is he in the third, fourth or fifth round? Historically, it doesn't happen in this league."

Arians threw out the one name everybody talks about when they want to make a point about finding a gem late in the draft: Tom Brady. He was went in the sixth round of the 2000 draft to the New England Patriots and went on to win three Super Bowls and three NFL MVPs. But when Arians and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim reconvene in Arizona's war room Friday, they'll have to figure out if someone like Jimmy Garoppolo, AJ McCarron, Tom Savage, Derek Carr, Aaron Murray, Logan Thomas or Zach Mettenberger could be the next Brady.

Or at least the Cardinals next starting quarterback.

Preparing for life after Carson Palmer has long been a topic when discussing the Cardinals' draft needs. They went with safety Deone Bucannon in the first round, squashing mock drafts that had Blake Bortles -- who went third -- falling to Arizona at 20th, and silencing rumors that Arizona wanted Derek Carr.

Picking a quarterback on Friday is a distinct possibility. The Cardinals have one pick in the second round (52nd) and two in the third (84th and 91st), heading into Day 2. But picking a quarterback Friday is a play for the future. The Cardinals showed last year when they picked linebacker Kevin Minter and played him just one down in 2013 that they're open to the idea of sitting a second-round pick.

And the Cardinals' brain trust doesn't see an immediate need to replace Palmer.

"We feel good about where Carson is," Keim said. "Just going through this season and now heading into a second season with us, Carson's understanding of our offense has really grown. I think his comfort level with our offense is going to show this year and pay huge dividends. Like any other time, I think you have to always look for quarterbacks of the future.

"There are a few quarterbacks that we like in this draft and we think they fit what we do. I've said this many times before, whether it's at 20, 52 or 84, if they're the best player on our board, we'll take them."

But how many quarterbacks fit the mold Arians prefers and has won with with Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer? Only four left in this class. McCarron, Savage, Mettenberger and Thomas are the only quarterbacks among ESPN's Top 11 that are 6-foot-3 or taller. McCarron and Savage will likely go in the second round, leaving Mettenberger and Thomas to fall.

Arians worked out Thomas, the Virginia Tech quarterback, in April.

"Tremendous athlete," Arians said. "Probably one of the strongest arms in the last 10 years to go with good athleticism and good size. (He) was (with) a couple different offensive coordinators and philosophies of offense.

"I think (he's) a guy that when he was a sophomore, had really good players around him that deteriorated, speaking as an alumnus."

Arizona won't pick a quarterback just for the sake of it. With Palmer under contract for one more season, a new quarterback will have to be someone the Cardinals can entrust the offense in after Palmer's days in the desert are over. Anything less won't be worth it.

"Guys are on your roster for a reason," Arians said. "They're pretty damn good. So to think that you just draft one in the third round and he's going to beat out Ryan Lindley, that's tough to do."