With the draft three weeks away, it’s time to look closer at team needs for every NFL club.
QB: Four quarterbacks saw action for Arizona last season. Fifth-round pick John Skelton remains a two- to three-year project, and Derek Anderson won’t be on the 2011 roster because his salary is $4,087,500. Undrafted rookie Max Hall showed enough in six appearances to confirm he’s no more than a long-term backup. The Cardinals have been heavily connected to free agent Marc Bulger, who Kurt Warner calls a perfect fit for coach Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.
OL: Burly tackles Levi Brown and Brandon Keith struggle in pass protection, combining last season to allow 17 sacks in 25 starts. Brown has been a bust as the former No. 5 pick in the draft and might be better suited for guard. On the interior, center Lyle Sendlein, left guard Alan Faneca, and right guard Deuce Lutui are all unsigned for the 2011 season.
LB: Incumbent outside linebackers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans are both entering their age-34 seasons with hefty price tags and little production to show for it. O’Brien Schofield and Will Davis are promising youngsters, but both have injury concerns and limited track records. If Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller falls to No. 5 in the draft, the Cardinals surely will scoop him up.
TE: The Cardinals have never fielded a pass-catching tight end under Whisenhunt, but it wouldn’t be a bad time to change that trend. Especially if a rookie quarterback is calling signals in 2011.
Overview: Whisenhunt’s success came to a screeching halt after Warner’s retirement, and like division rival San Francisco, the Cardinals need a quarterback fix first and foremost. Not only would failing to solve that quandary produce another sub-.500 season, it could cause face of the franchise Larry Fitzgerald to strongly consider entering the 2012 free agent market. Fitz is in a contract year.