Cardinals to take Blaine Gabbert if he falls?

Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert runs onto the field for a game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on October 23, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

I must admit, some of that faded excitement that I had for the draft is returning now that the rumors are flowing. Even though the NFL is trying to ruin the holiday with this CBA mess, little by little the draft is starting to creep back into my heart.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweets that if the Cardinals “can get” Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert at No. 5 next month, “they will.” Owners Michael and Bill Bidwill took Gabbert to dinner on Tuesday night and Arizona’s coaching staff held a private workout with him on Wednesday. It appears, for all intents and purposes, that the Cardinals are putting on a full-court press for the former Tiger.

Now the question is whether or not he’ll fall to the Cardinals at No. 5. If the Panthers pass on Cam Newton, they could take Gabbert at No. 1. If the Bills don’t take him at No. 3, the Bengals could certainly nab him at No. 4 depending on how they want to handle the Carson Palmer fiasco. With three quarterback-needy teams picking ahead of the Cards in the first round, Gabbert might not fall.

But if you’re a Cardinal fan and you want Gabbert, it’s easy to look at the situation and stay optimistic. Carolina could take Newton, Buffalo may address its defensive line and Cincinnati owner Mike Brown reiterated on Monday that he wants Palmer back, so maybe the Bengals go with either A.J. Green or Julio Jones. In that scenario, Gabbert would slip to the Cardinals at No. 5.

Either way, Arizona needs to acquire a signal caller at some point this offseason and given how there’s no free agency, the Cards would be wise to take one in the draft. John Skelton showed flashes last season but on a whole, the quarterback situation was an absolute mess in the desert last year. Gabbert is a big kid with a strong arm and would be a good fit in Ken Whisenhunt’s balanced offense (which also features elements of the spread).

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