As draft day approaches, questions are flying left and right. Who is going No. 1? Which quarterback will go off the board first? Who is the most NFL-ready prospect?
The real question for Arizona is who is the best possible prospect it can take with the No. 5 pick who will step in immediately and be an instant impact type of player?
There is a lot of potential star players in this year's draft, but Arizona clearly needs more than just one of them. With the retirement of Kurt Warner a year ago and the trade of Anquan Boldin, this team showed just how much those two players were missed.
Also play in how successful Sam Bradford was for St. Louis, and this division suddenly seems top-heavy. If Arizona is going to compete in it next season, it will need to find a playmaker for two reasons. First, in order to keep Larry Fitzgerald around, the Cardinals will need a quarterback who can get him the ball. Second, they have had a few years worth of success, and if they want to continue the trend, they need to keep up with the teams around them and draft high-caliber players.
Here are some potential players that Arizona can target at No. 5.
As of late, Von Miller has had some skeptics come out about whether or not he will be able to be as good as a pass rusher as he was in college in the NFL. Obviously we don't know just yet, but as of right now he is the top pass rusher in the class, and he's an outside linebacker.
Go back a few years to when the Dallas Cowboys drafted DeMarcus Ware. He came from a small school, but his physicality was unmatched, and thus he has proven to be one of the top pass rushers in the game today.
Miller has a similar game set as Ware. He's not as big at 6'3", 246 whereas Ware is 6'4", 262, but Miller has the speed. He ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at his pro day, and he excelled in every position drill.
He has a tremendous body of work. He totaled 178 tackles in his career with 33 sacks.
The one lingering question mark that surrounds him is whether he will be a factor in the passing coverage game. We all know how good he is against the run, but he will need to better his pass coverage skills if he's going to be an all-around impact player.
Still, if he's still available at No. 5, the Cardinals should draft him—no question.
In my opinion, Patrick Peterson is the best player in the draft and quite possibly the best player of the last five or six drafts. He's the total package at 6'1", 220 and running in the 4.3s. He's built like a brick house and has ball skills like no other.
His college statistics don't exactly showcase just how good he really was. In three years he tallied 135 tackles, one forced fumble, seven interceptions and one defensive touchdown. He also had two punt returns for touchdowns last year, so he's a threat in the return game as well.
If for some reason Peterson is still around at No. 5, which I don't think he will be, it would be a huge mistake for Arizona to pass up on him.
The combination of Peterson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is scary just to think about, and two young corners like that could have very long careers together and give opposing quarterbacks nightmares.
When the season ended just months ago, Da'Quan Bowers was pegged by many draft experts as the No. 1 overall player in the draft. He was practically a lock to go to the Panthers with the No. 1 pick, but since that time we have seen him fall further and further down the draft board.
He did suffer a knee injury late last year that prevented him from performing at the combine and didn't help him in his pro day either, but shouldn't his body of work come into play?
His breakout year finally came last season, when he had 16 sacks, a forced fumble, an interception and 67 tackles. At 6'4", 277 he could grow into being a monster at defensive end.
Chances are that Bowers will still be there at No. 5 given the latest draft news, and if he's still there, the Cardinals will be faced with a very tough decision as to whether or not go with him and the injury question marks or take their chances on someone else.
A.J. Green might be the most gifted receiver to come along since Larry Fitzgerald. He has great route-running skills, he rarely drops a ball and his combination of speed and size will match up with just about every corner in the NFL.
Also play in the opportunity for him to play opposite Fitzgerald. He would see a lot of balls his way and could have a huge rookie season.
This pick does have to come a little bit into question. If there is a quarterback, Arizona probably should draft him, but there's also the chance of taking a "risk" with Green and drafting a quarterback in the second round.
Green could have an immediate impact with any club that so chooses to draft him. He's a high-quality, character type of guy who works hard and excels at every aspect of the game.
He's a big target at 6'4", 215, and his stats speak for themselves: 166 receptions, 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career at Georgia.
Green may or not be available at No. 5, but if he is, the Cardinals could take a chance with him and see a huge payoff. Green will be a tremendous professional receiver for whichever club he gets drafted to. On the flip side, if Fitzgerald is going to leave, it would be nice for Arizona to have a big-play receiver already on board.
Let's face the facts here—Arizona needs a quarterback in the worst way.
Last season the Cardinals tried out three quarterbacks: Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton. The sad part is that the three of them combined to have 3,097 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. I'm not even going to sugarcoat it—that's just terrible.
Last season for Missouri, Blaine Gabbert passed for 3,186 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Now those numbers don't exactly wow you, but his play sure does. Take, for example, his games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma. He went 61-of-89 for 669 yards and four touchdowns. That's pretty impressive when you look at how good both of those teams' defenses were.
Then there's his arm. He has an NFL arm. His pro day was by all accounts amazing. It wasn't the best pro day ever, but he showed off his arm, he showed his accuracy and he answered every question anyone had about his throwing ability.
He has NFL size at 6'4", 234, and he also has scrambling ability. His overall game is impressive, and he will have a nice transition into the pro game.
This pick at No. 5 for the Cardinals is a no room for failure type of pick. If Gabbert is still there, there is no question the Cardinals should draft him. He has all the making to be a franchise quarterback, and with Arizona he has arguably the top receiver in football to help ease him into the professional game.