NFL Draft 2011: Arizona Cardinals Eyeing 'Impact' Player with Fifth Selection
The Arizona Cardinals, perhaps more than any other team in the league, need a quarterback.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt, like everybody else with a shred of common sense, knows it. After all, the numbers don't lie.
The Cardinals were one of the NFL's worst at throwing the ball a season ago, finishing 31st in yards per game (182.6), touchdown passes (10), and passer rating (60.5) as the Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton each struggled to take effective control of the offense.
Arizona ranked no worse than 12th in any of those categories in 2009, Kurt Warner's final season.
In order to ascend back to the top of the NFC West, the Cardinals don't need another Warner, but they do need an upgrade from the three-headed monster that's under center at the moment.
Still, Whisenhunt is reluctant to pull the trigger on a quarterback with his team's No. 5 selection in the upcoming draft. Or such is the posturing at this point in time, which could obviously change depending upon what the teams slotted above Arizona do on April 28.
"There are a lot of guys that are intriguing athletically like Blaine Gabbert, like Cam Newton, because of the skill set, some of the things they can do," Whisenhunt told WTAR Radio in Norfolk, Va., recently. "But I don't think they have shown the ability to do some of the things that you have seen in the past by some of these guys like a Matt Ryan or, obviously, like a Sam Bradford.
"We need somebody at that spot (fifth overall) that is going to have an impact for us this year, that can make some of those plays."
The man has a point. Gabbert and Newton are each considered to be a legitimate starter, but only in time. Plus, as poor as the Cards' passing offense was in 2010, there may be issues even more pressing.
Arizona allowed an average of 27 points and nearly 374 yards per game last season, ranked 30th and 29th, respectively.
With that in mind, the Cardinals may be better suited to target an instant starter on defense, such as whomever could be left of Nick Fairley, Da'Quan Bowers, Patrick Peterson, and Marcell Dareus by the time the fifth pick rolls around.
For more on the NFL Draft: 2011 NFL Mock Draft: Comparing Experts Picks from Around the Web
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