NFL Draft 2011: Arizona Cardinals' 5 Best First-Round Fits
This is one of those debated topics everywhere on blogs and chat rooms alike these days.
Who should your team take in the first round?
That's a good question.
And all we can do is guess...and hope that the player we think should go to our team will go there.
Well, the Cardinals have many needs, so I imagine that whoever we take will have an immediate impact.
But I believe some players would do better in the Cardinals system than others.
Here are my top five, in order of best fit.
1. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
I still abide by the belief that the best first-round pick, based on fit and talent, is Von Miller from Texas A&M.
Miller is very athletic and has an ability that maybe no one else does on the Cards roster right now: the ability to get to the quarterback.
It's not their biggest need (quarterback is), but I'm of the belief that the two first-round quarterbacks (Gabbert and Newton) aren't up to par with what the Cardinals would need.
Not only that, but a rookie quarterback is going to need time to learn the system, and work with the team in the offseason.
And if there is no offseason, then that's going to be a problem.
Not to mention, Miller seems like a well-behaved, hard-working individual, a guy that coach Whisenhunt likes.
As Mike Sando on the NFC West blog on espn.com said, "If Miller is available, I have a hard time imagining they will pass him up."
2. Robert Quinn, DE, UNC
I really hate to admit this, but our next best fit is Robert Quinn.
Do I hope that Arizona gets Quinn.
But in terms of athletic talent, he's right up there with Von Miller.
He hasn't played football in a year.
The talent is there though, and if the Cardinals were picking at 10 instead of five, I'd be pleased with Quinn.
The only reason he's second on the list is he's the next best fit, as the Cardinals desperately need a 3-4 OLB.
3. Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri
In a vacuum, I will take Gabbert over Newton any day.
My general dislike of Newton has to do with two main things:
1. I don't think he's NFL ready, in terms of his actual passing (he's got the body).
2. His attitude. He's out there for himself. I just don't like that.
You can argue all you want that he's a leader in the huddle and all that.
Of course he is. If he weren't, Auburn wouldn't have won the BCS National Championship.
But now he's got to lead a pro team. I don't think he's ready.
I'm not sure if he is either, but he seems to have a better arm and a better demeanor.
Mark my words: If Arizona drafts Newton, it'll be Matt Leinart all over again.
Still, I don't think Arizona will draft Gabbert. He's a good fit, but not in a year with no offseason.
4. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Now here's a name no one has tossed out that the Cardinals may look at.
But here's the thing: they need a tackle.
The offensive line really struggled last year, regardless of the QB, and right now Smith, at least according to some scouts, is the best tackle out there.
Again, do I think Arizona will take him?
No, but you shouldn't rule it out.
Well, if Miller, Gabbert and Patrick Peterson are all off the board, the Cardinals could go with Robert Quinn, or they could fill another big need and get a pass rusher later.
The last time they took an offensive tackle this early it didn't work out so well (yes, you, Levi Brown).
But who knows, right?
5. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
For those of you freaking out right now, there's a reason that Peterson isn't higher on the list.
It's because he doesn't fill a huge need.
Is it a need? Sure.
But the Cards need a QB and OLB desperately, and an OT almost as bad.
Peterson would be a luxury, that's for sure.
But heck, it would take some pressure off the pass rush if Peterson were able to become a shutdown corner that some think he could be.
The Cardinals would have top-five secondary potential.
But on the other hand, any secondary is going to get exposed if they can't get to the QB.
I do want to say that I think Arizona, with the recent hiring of Ray Horton (a former corner), will pull the trigger if Peterson is there at five and Miller is gone.
At least, that's my hope.