With multiple reports indicating that the Cardinals, who hold the seventh overall pick in the draft, have become smitten with former USC quarterback Matt Barkley, our first reaction is this.
With the Bills parked one spot behind the Cardinals in the top 10 and equally desperate to get a franchise quarterback, the Cardinals could be trying to do one of two things by letting word leak of an alleged love affair with Barkley.
First, the Cardinals could be hoping to get someone else (like the Bills) to trade in front of them and take Barkley, pushing another player in whom the Cardinals truly are interested one spot farther down the draft board.
Second, the Cardinals could trying to mask their potential interest in West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, hoping to keep the Bills or some other team from leapfrogging Arizona at No. 7 to get Smith.
The latter explanation makes more sense, primarily because Smith better fits the profile of quarterbacks with whom Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has most recently worked. Like Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Smith is big and strong and mobile — the kind of quarterback who can use his legs to make up for the absence of a high-end offensive line. Which the Cardinals don’t have.
It’s a topic that I vaguely recall coming up during our recent interview of Arians at the Scouting Combine. I’m going to watch it right now to remember what he said. You should do the same.