The Arizona Cardinals head into 2018 with a new head coach and quarterback, but will a strong draft be enough to return them to the postseason?
The NFC West appears as wide open as ever heading into 2018, and the Arizona Cardinals are one team who will need a strong 2018 Draft to cement themselves as a playoff contender.
Head coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement at the end of the season, as did starting quarterback Carson Palmer. General manager Steve Keim brought in former Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as the team’s next head coach, but now the work begins to rebound from a disappointing 2017 season.
The window to win a championship for future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald is closing fast and the Cardinals have a lot of crucial decisions to make heading into this draft, namely finding their next franchise quarterback.
Amidst all this transition, here’s a look at how the Arizona Cardinals could approach the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.
The Cardinals figure to be squarely in the discussion for a quarterback with the fifteenth pick, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be willing to pull the trigger and risk an overdraft. If GM Steve Keim sees “his guy” within striking distance, the Cards certainly have the draft capital to pull off a deal.
If not, however, they could look to replace another aging superstar (Larry Fitzgerald) with the selection of SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton. The former Mustangs star surprised many when he bypassed last year’s draft, but he has done nothing to prove he isn’t still worthy of a first-round selection.
If Arizona fixes their quarterback situation via trade or free agency (Case Keenum or otherwise), it would make sense for them to load up on offensive weapons early in this draft. The return of running back David Johnson figures to be a huge boost to the offense next season, but their next quarterback will still need weapons on the outside.
Sutton’s has remarkable athleticism for his size (6-foot-3 and 218 pounds) and posted an astonishing 6.57-second mark in the 3-cone at last week’s NFL Combine. He may not be much of a home run threat, but his ability to make tough catches over the middle and in tight coverage will make him an excellent possession receiver at the NFL level. And who better to help develop a young receiver than future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald in what may be his final season?