Options on board for Cards on final day

May, 10, 2014
May 10
11:30
AM ET
TEMPE, Ariz. -- And then there were three -- picks.

That’s all the Arizona Cardinals have left in this year’s NFL draft, one each in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds Saturday. They traded their seventh-round pick to Oakland last April for quarterback Carson Palmer.

So, what will Arizona do?

The final day of the draft is when general manager Steve Keim has proved he’s strongest. Last year, he drafted Stepfan Taylor in the fifth round and followed with Andre Ellington in the sixth. Both made an instant impact in 2013 and are slated to be Arizona’s top two running backs this coming season.

Through their first four picks, the Cardinals have appeared to draft more for need than in line with their best-player available philosophy -- or they drafted the best-player available at those positions of need. They’ve drafted a safety, tight end, pass rusher and speed receiver.

Arizona’s list of needs still includes a linebacker, right tackle and a quarterback.

Which, if any, do the Cardinals address? The only thing we know for sure heading into the final day of the draft is the Cards are looking to move. Keim said he tried to move back into the second round Friday to no avail, but his phone has either been ringing off the hook or he’s been dialing furiously.

“I think once we’ve gotten to this point now, we will continue to be active,” Keim said. “The phone’s been ringing a lot and we’ll continue to gauge. There may be options where we’ll be willing to move up.

“We just have to continue to stay the course and trust our board.”

It’s on the third day where Arians has experienced the most heartbreak in the draft.

“I love Day 3 because there are players there,” he said. “Our scouts do a great job of having that -- and Steve especially -- of having that board set. You may want to make a move because there’s a guy you really like sitting there that third day.

“Those are the days, you’ve got a guy, you love him and the team right in front of you takes him. Nothing pisses you off more than that.”

The Cardinals still have plenty of options if they want to pick up a potential quarterback of the future. Only five have been drafted thus far, leaving names like AJ McCarron, Tom Savage, Logan Thomas and Zach Mettenberger still on the board.

After Friday’s second and third rounds concluded, head coach Bruce Arians was asked what he’d say to fans who hoped the Cards would pick up a signal caller.

“Why?” Arians said he’d ask. “We’ve got three pretty good ones and you don’t take quarterbacks if they’re not going to beat the guys out that you have. I know people rate quarterbacks. I’ve been doing this for a long time, rating quarterbacks. I like ours better.”

Another option on Day 3 is an offensive lineman, but pickings are slim. The Cardinals passed on 12 tackles through the first three rounds, including Virginia’s Morgan Moses who slipped to late second round.

“There are some quality guys still out there,” Keim said. “I don’t know if you can pinpoint and say that there are starters for sure, but there are certainly some guys on the interior part of it that are potentially swing guys that could come in and play center and guard for you.

“Usually at this point in the draft there are very few tackles left, as you guys know, and if there are they’re generally right tackles. But there are some interior guys that are intriguing that are still left on the board.”

There are still three picks – possibly more – to see what Keim has up his sleeve.

If history repeats itself in the sixth round, there’ll be a pick or two by the Cardinals on Saturday that’ll get a buzz going.

“They’re on the board,” Arians said. “It’s just a matter of how they fall but there are still some dynamic players on the board.”

Josh Weinfuss

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter

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