Before the draft, the Cardinals tried hard to conceal their interest in adding a quarterback.
“Why?” coach Bruce Arians said in January regarding the possibility of using a draft pick on a signal-caller.
With the dust settling, the extent of Arians’ deception is becoming more clear; G.M. Steve Keim told Adam Schein of SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio on Friday that the Cardinals were focused on one guy in the first round with the thought that he could become a franchise quarterback. But he was long gone by the time the birds were on the board.
“Well, you know, we liked Blake Bortles a lot,” Keim said. “We thought, when you looked at his size, his athleticism, his ability to improvise. He doesn’t have quite the arm strength that Ben Roethlisberger had but he has some of the same skill set, naturally with his foot speed and athleticism to get out of the pocket and make plays with his feet, as well as stand tall in the pocket and make some of the throws down the field. And he’s a guy, being a junior coming out, he still had some developing to do as well but we think his upside is pretty big.”
When we posted last Wednesday that Bortles could be the surprise of the draft, we pegged the Cardinals as an option, given that Bortles reminds Arians of Roethlisberger, who played for Arians in Pittsburgh. But we also heard at the time that the Jaguars were believed to be very interested in Bortles.
As it turns out, they were. And so instead of wearing a red jersey on game days, Bortles will be relegated to sporting Cardinals colors at practice only.