The Cardinals have their current quarterback in Carson Palmer but are constantly thinking about the future at the position.
Carson Palmer is coming off an MVP-type year, but he's also going to turn 37 in December.
In April, that means the logical discussion about what the Cardinals will do about a quarterback of the future, and if drafting someone in the next couple of days might be prudent.
"I think this draft has potential for a quarterback of the future more than drafts in the past," coach Bruce Arians said.
That doesn't necessarily mean the Cards will take one, however.
"There are some intriguing guys in this draft, but whether or not they're there when we pick, it's still that—you're not going to go and say, 'Hey, we're going to go draft a quarterback in this position because we want one, but he's really two rounds later as his
draft grade,' " Arians added. "That's where you get in trouble."
The top two quarterbacks in the draft – Cal's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz – are going to be picked with the top two choices in the draft. After that, there are many possibilities, all of whom raise questions about viability as a high-level starter in the NFL.
(Of course, if they didn't raise those questions, they'd be taken right after – or before – Goff and Wentz.)
Some mocks have the Cards taking Memphis' Paxton Lynch with the 29th pick of the first round, although others believe Lynch will end up going sooner. There are other players that figure to last into the third and fourth rounds where the Cardinals (without a second-round pick) choose: Penn State's Christian Hackenberg, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, Ohio State's Cardale Jones and North Carolina State's Jacoby Brissett among them.
"I've said this time and time again, you have to know in your heart that a guy is a future producer to take a quarterback high, because if you don't believe in the guy in your heart and you take him and you force the pick, it's going to set you back," General Manager Steve Keim said.
"Supply and demand says one thing. You have to take chances, but there's something about that position that I've evaluated over the years, on the hits and the misses, and I always felt like I knew in my heart when the guys have had success, because of certain things. Not just the physical tools, but the intangibles, the passion, the ability to process information and the leadership skills. That's a whole different part of that position that's hard to find."
The Cardinals took Logan Thomas in the fourth round in 2013, and he did not work out. Taking a flyer on a project may well be the plan again this season, although Arians said the Cards' roster is such that "if the quarterback fell to us at 29, we'd just say, 'Hey, the future's now.'"
Keim understands that most of the high-level quarterbacks are first-round picks. But most first-round quarterbacks, mathematically speaking, aren't going to become great. It's the reason the Cardinals' QB search doesn't stop.
"Every year, you're looking for that guy," Arians said. "When he's going to come around, you never know."
Images of the quarterbacks projected to get drafted in late April