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Cardinals Draft Primer 2017: Quarterback

Team will take a close look, but must be certain it has the right guy

The Cardinals didn't make a big splash in free agency, preferring to add lower-priced veterans to the roster before turning their attention to the draft. The prospect pool is considered deep this year, and General Manager Steve Keim will aim to add pieces that can make an impact in 2017 and beyond. The three-day draft will kick off with the first round on Thursday, where the Cardinals have the No. 13 overall pick. This is the final position primer.

More draft primer analysis:CB I WR I LB I RB I DL I OL I ST I TE I S

Draft primer:Quarterback

Players under contract:Carson Palmer; Drew Stanton; Zac Dysert

Need: High

Images of the quarterbacks projected to get drafted this week

The Cardinals' situation: Carson Palmer considered retirement this offseason but is back in the fold, and will lead the team regardless of what it does in the draft. While Palmer turns 38 in December, the Cardinals are confident he has enough juice left to be a solid starter. Drew Stanton will again be his backup. Zac Dysert will get a chance this offseason to prove his worth after seeing minimal work in practice last season. 

The draft class: There is no clear-cut franchise quarterback, but there are four players at the top of the list who have both physical gifts and drawbacks. North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky is inexperienced but the highest-rated and will likely be gone before the Cardinals draft at No. 13. Clemson's Deshaun Watson had great success in college, although his dual-threat style is different than what coach Bruce Arians has traditionally sought to captain his offense. Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes has the arm strength and natural ability to pique the team’s interest, although his unrefined technique is worrisome. Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer has impressive physical tools but is raw. Davis Webb has been mentioned at the top of the second tier, although it wouldn't be a shock if he is drafted before one of the other four. He comes from an Air Raid offense like Mahomes and must make the tough transition.

The conclusion: The Cardinals have studied the quarterbacks closely and wouldn't hesitate to grab one in the first round if they were sold on his ability. However, they must be ultra-confident, because selecting one would mean passing on a potential star at another position. If the Cardinals deem No. 13 too early to grab a quarterback, they could look at the options at No. 45 overall in the second round or consider trading up if a target is still available near the end of the first round. In a perfect world Keim will find a quarterback of the future that Arians and Palmer can groom, but he won't pull the trigger in the early rounds unless there is full confidence in the pick.

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