Finding a quarterback in the NFL is a difficult task, and no team may have struggled at the position more last season than the Arizona Cardinals. After some mediocre performances from Kevin Kolb led to a 4-0 start, he was injured and the play from John Skelton and Ryan Lindley seemed to get progressively worse. The team would win just one more game the rest of the way, and now it is likely looking to draft a signal-caller once again.
The NFC West was as competitive as any division in 2012, and Seattle and San Francisco were the teams to emerge from the group of stellar defenses. They both employed young, mobile quarterbacks and had plenty of success with the read option. It would be natural to think that the Cardinals would look at Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick and seek to find someone with similar talents.
Arizona general manager Steve Keim was asked about the read option, and whether or not it will stick around. He believes that the type of offense eventually comes down to the players, via nfldraftscout.com:
For the most part, it comes down to personnel. What type of personnel you have and obviously those guys (Wilson, Kap) with their foot speed, their athleticism, the way they can throw the football, you want to cater to their strengths and put them in a position to succeed. To me, it all goes with what skill set you have. If you have a guy with those types of tools, you put them in a position to succeed.
So does that mean Keim will be searching for the type of mobile quarterback that can operate in a read option system? Not necessarily, and he doesn't appear to be focused on that particular attribute. The ability to throw the ball still reigns, and that is where he will value:
Once the lights come on, being able to throw the football, throw it accurately on the big stage. When you go see these kids practice in their own environment, and see them practice, they have a certain comfort level. Well now you're taking that player out of the comfortable and you're asking them to throw to (unfamiliar) receivers.
If pre-draft evaluations are to be believed, then this won't be a deep draft class for quarterbacks. The consensus best of the bunch is West Virginia's Geno Smith. He would have to get by a pair of quarterback-starved teams in Kansas City and Jacksonville to reach Arizona.
Of course, the Cardinals had plenty of other offensive issues last season, and there will still be talent at No. 7. For now, Mocking the Draft's latest 2013 NFL mock draft has the Arizona grabbing left tackle Luke Joeckel, another position that has been severely lacking.
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