Von Miller has been the favorite for the Cardinals to draft with their number five pick in the first round. Mel Kiper twice has projected him to be the Cardinals' pick and the fans over in the Cardinals team blog have been clamoring for his pass rushing skills and defensive speed. However, the latest projections by Yahoo sports have him gone at number three, going to the Buffalo Bills.
With their selection, the Arizona Cardinals are projected to make the first pick of a quarterback, selecting Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert. The explanation is as follows:
When Kurt Warner retired, the Cardinals' offense was left in shambles and the team cycled through quarterbacks, unable to find a solution. Gabbert is still raw, but Ken Whisenhunt is a master of bringing quarterbacks along slowly, as he did with Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, and could tailor a game plan that allows Gabbert to step into the starting lineup readily.
What is interesting is that other mocks have quarterbacks being selected earlier and earlier. In one mock draft, Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker are all selected in the first ten picks.
In these projections, Cam Newton falls all the way to number 15 and is selected by the Miami Dolphins. Locker falls to 28 and will be a New England Patriot.
Both highly rated receivers, A.J. Green and Julio Jones are gone by pick number six.
If the Cardinals go the route of quarterback with their first selection, it would be unlikely to see Kyle Orton or Kevin Kolb in Arizona for 2011. A veteran free agent will be the likely target to start the season and Gabbert would compete with John Skelton for the backup spot, both in a developing role.