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Quarterbacks At Top Of Draft Give Cardinals Prime Spot At 4

Need from top three teams -- and QB class -- means options will develop

Quarterbacks (from left) Drake Maye, Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels figure to be the top three picks in the draft, giving the Cardinals a host of options at No. 4.
Quarterbacks (from left) Drake Maye, Caleb Williams and Jayden Daniels figure to be the top three picks in the draft, giving the Cardinals a host of options at No. 4.

INDIANAPOLIS – The Cardinals do not need a quarterback, but because of quarterback, the math might turn out to be perfect on draft night.

The Cardinals are picking at No. 4 overall, and the three teams ahead of them – Bears at No. 1, Commanders at No. 2, Patriots at No. 3 – all seem likely to both need and want a QB.

"It's a great position. It's the pole position," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of the Cardinals' spot. "You more than likely are going to get your choice of any other (non-QB) position in the draft. And if you want to auction it? You might have a chance to do that."

The Bears have Justin Fields, but it's becoming more and more apparent they will deal Fields elsewhere and select a QB first, probably USC's Caleb Williams. The Commanders can go with North Carolina's Drake Maye or LSU's Jayden Daniels, and the Patriots could easily then take who was left. In both cases, Sam Howell and Bailey Zappe (or Mac Jones) likely aren't the answers. Replacements are needed.

Even if one of the teams doesn't take a QB, one of them would then fall to the Cardinals at 4 and open up potential trades.

"Any time there are people in front of you, you are always kind of sitting there," Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort said. "Last year we had to wait and see what happened at 1 and 2. That's similar to this year. We will try to, as best we can, ascertain what's out there, but in all reality no one knows and no one will know until that night in April. Once we get closer, that last week to 10 days, that's when we start to go through scenarios."

There are other quarterbacks. Bo Nix, Michael Penix and J.J. McCarthy are generally regarded as the next three on the board. Of the top three teams drafting, it is the Patriots that – at least at this stage – could go elsewhere (wide receiver Marvin Harrison has been mocked to them more than once.)

But they need a QB at some point and it figures to be smart to strike now with a top three pick.

"I think it's a really good year for quarterbacks," Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf said. "It's a really good year at a lot of positions. Like any position, we are going to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and determine who fits for us. We are pretty early in the process here."

Williams entertained questions Friday about all the potential landing spots he could go, the Bears, the Commanders, the Patriots, or even a team trading up like the Falcons. But whoever it is, Williams emphasized it'll be with the No. 1 pick.

To not be picked first overall, "there is not a thought in my mind," Williams said. Maye, who has been considered the No. 2 QB prospect all college season, was open to wherever he landed. So too was Daniels, who some believe could end up going No. 2 when the draft arrives.

"I just want to go to the best situation, whether that's the first pick, whether that's the 32nd pick," Daniels said.

And what defines the best situation?

"Whoever calls my name, that's the best situation for me," Daniels said.

The order potentially could change but "more than likely, it'll be quarterback, quarterback, quarterback," Jeremiah said.

And then the Cardinals will be on the clock to do … whatever they want.