Quarterback prospects (left to right) Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel look on at February's Scouting combine.
The NFL draft will be held from May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Cardinals addressed several needs in free agency and are now zeroing in on their draft targets. We'll take a look at each position heading into Thursday's first round.
Draft primer: Quarterback
Cardinals under contract: Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley
Prospects by projected draft round:
First: Blake Bortles, Central Florida; Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M; Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville; Derek Carr, Fresno State.
Second: Tom Savage, Pittsburgh; Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois.
Third/fourth: Zach Mettenberger, LSU; A.J. McCarron, Alabama; Aaron Murray, Georgia.
Fifth or later: Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech; David Fales, San Jose State; Keith Wenning, Ball State.
Analysis: It's the question which has dominated the headlines for months: Will the Cardinals take a quarterback early in the draft? The team has veteran Carson Palmer under center and a roster which is built to win now, so plugging in more immediate contributors at other positions makes sense. Palmer may only have a couple years remaining where he can play at a high level, so the addition of an understudy at some point is important for the future of the franchise. Many pundits believe the Cardinals must take a signal-caller in this draft, but coach Bruce Arians has continually professed his belief in the three currently on the roster.
Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel are expected to be selected before the Cardinals choose in the first round, while Teddy Bridgewater's stock has fallen of late, which could make him available. Derek Carr is another projected first-rounder expected to be on the board at No. 20, while quarterbacks like A.J. McCarron and Zach Mettenberger could be Day 2 considerations. Logan Thomas is a project but has arm strength and should be available in the later rounds.
This is the NFL's glamour position, and many fans would like to to see the Cardinals choose a quarterback early, develop him under Palmer for a year and then give him the reins in 2015. General Manager Steve Keim is not averse to taking one, but only if he is the top-rated player on the team's draft board at the time. Either way, this will be one of the main subplots as the Cardinals prepare to draft in the first three rounds.