Despite adding two quarterbacks this off-season, the Arizona Cardinals aren’t done yet in loading up on the position, setting up a private workout session with former USC QB Matt Barkley, giving us the indication they’re planning on some fierce competition for the role during training camp.
Bruce Arians was a big fan of Drew Stanton, who has been a career backup for the past five season, not featuring on the field for the last couple of seasons, waiting for a chance behing Matthew Stafford in Detroit and Andrew Luck with the Colts. Arians, the offensive coordinator for the Colts last season, liked what he saw from the Michigan State alum and moved to sign him as one of his first decisions on his new job.
Carson Palmer steps into training camp as the favorite. While his TD-per-throw numbers have drastically declined over the years, he’s still a legitimate starter in the NFL, and the money he’s going to get paid ($16 million for the next couple of years) makes it pretty clear who is the one the Cards are expecting to lead the team in the next couple of years.
And then there’s Barkley, who like most quarterbacks, seems to be moving up the Mock draft predictions, although not at the rate of Geno Smith. Barkley is a late first-round pick at the moment, but it’s mostly about need at that point instead of picking the best player available. The Cardinals have the number 7 pick in the draft, which does seem a bit high for Barkley, who finished his career as the all-time leading passer in Pac-12 history.
His finish to 2012 was a sad one, spraining his shoulder against UCLA and missing the last few games of the season, including the bowl game loss to Georgia Tech. Still, he improved on his completion percentage on throws of 20 yards or longer in his junior and senior seasons at USC, throwing 24 TDs against only two interceptions, and once the “aura” of the bad Trojans seasons evaporated, people were reminded he’s a pretty good quarterback in the making.