Bruce Arians is newly retired and enjoying life, but that doesn't mean he's not thinking about who he would take in the upcoming NFL draft.
The former Cardinals coach has some big ideas for his old team's draft strategy, especially with regards to the much vaunted quarterback class. After the retirement of Carson Palmer, and Drew Stanton's departure in free agency, Arizona signed two veteran signal callers this offseason in the form of Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon.
However, that wouldn't stop Arians from drafting a future franchise QB in the first round come Thursday. And, there's one particularly prospect that's caught his eye as a potential game-changer at the position.
The two-time NFL coach of the year is enamoured with the 'unique skill-set' that former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson brings to the table and would certainly pull the trigger on him with the 15th overall pick if he were the Cardinals.
“That’s one guy I really am intrigued with because he can spin it and he’s been in a pro-style offense and he’s been hard coached by Bobby (Petrino),” Arians said per the Arizona Republic.. “He brings that unique skill-set, and it makes me look back at Vince Young. Vince could beat you and he was a heck of a leader. I don’t know why it didn’t work out for him, but listening to him now, telling his story, he’s like, ‘I didn’t put the time in.’
“I think Lamar puts the time in. He’s going to get better, and he just brings that unique ability to break the game open with his legs.”
Clearly a big fan of the former Heisman Trophy winner, Arians noted that Jackson's experience of playing in a pro-style offense would make his transition to the NFL easier than many expect, and that he wouldn't necessarily need to have an offense moulded around his rushing ability in order to succeed.
Instead of adding a bunch of designed runs into the playbook, he would leave Jackson to improvise and take whatever yardage he's given on the ground, much like Seahawks QB Russell Wilson does.
“He’s been in a pro-style offense. He’s more of a scrambler with designed runs. I don’t think I’d design runs for him. I would just let him, a la Russell Wilson, take what’s there, and whoosh, take off running.” Arians said.
The 65-year-old doesn't just like Jackson in this stacked quarterback class though, and believes the Cardinals could even trade up to snag one of the consensus top four guys.
“If you’ve got a (trade) partner, it’s probably already in place,” he explained. “If the guy’s there, you pull the trigger. If (he is) not, you sit there with all those good picks you’ve got and you fill up that roster.”.
It'll be interesting to see what GM Steve Keim does on draft night, and it may be nothing on the quarterback front, but if he follows either one of Arians' suggestions it'll make for exciting viewing.