With the news that Andrew Luck will not be part of the 2011 NFL Draft class, teams and mock drafts are scrambling to rearrange projections for the upcoming draft. Luck was to be the consensus number one pick by the Carolina Panthers, who desperately seek a franchise quarterback. Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Mallett are all solid QB picks for the first round, but there is doubt whether they will fall. As for the Arizona Cardinals, who have the fifth pick overall and a glaring need at quarterback , the lastest mock draft has them looking elsewhere and Can Newton falling to the seventh pick.
Why would they look at a different position other than quarterback? The reasons are numerous. The first would simply be that of value. If after the combine the teams does not see any of the quarterbacks being worth the money of the fifth pick, they will not do it.
Of course, we all know that there are lots of other needs that the Cardinals have, including defensive line, linebacker, cornerback, offensive line, tight end and, to a lesser extent, wide receiver.
Another big reason they might go for a quarterback is that they may be content with letting John Skelton develop behind a reliable veteran. As veterans go, we believe that Marc Bulger would be perhaps the best option. Also there are solid options via trade (Kyle Orton, Kevin Kolb, and even Matt Schaub if Houston decides to go after hometown legend Vince Young). Ken Whisenhunt does not appear to have the patience to live with the growing pains that come with playing a rookie, at least when his goal is to reach and win in the playoffs.
The latest mock draft has Arizona drafting Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara to play opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. This certainly would not be a bad pick, but it is not even the best projected corner in the draft. LSU's Patrick Peterson gets picked by the Denver Broncos with the number two pick overall.
As for the projected first-round QBs, Cam Newton is projected to go seventh to San Francisco to join new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Ryan Mallett falls to the Seattle Seahawks, thus giving the NFC West three first round quarterbacks from two drafts. Blaine Gabbert gets selected by the Washington Redskins, who will develop under Rex Grossman, while Donovan McNabb (thought to be interested in Arizona) will seek employment elsewhere.