Are the Cardinals angling to move up into top five?

By Michael Dixon

Might the Arizona Cardinals be looking to move up and select USC’s Sam Darnold in the upcoming NFL Draft? If we follow the logical steps, it certainly seems plausible.

The idea was initially suggested by ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss.

“The team sent general manager Steve Keim, head coach Steve Wilks, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich to Sam Darnold’s Pro Day in California on Wednesday,” Weinfuss noted. “Darnold isn’t likely to be around at 15th, where the Cardinals are currently scheduled to pick, leading to the idea that they might be willing or working on a way to move up. If not, it begs this question: Why would Arizona send its brass to watch a player who it wouldn’t be in play for?”

Now, one point that absolutely needs to be made is that Darnold is far from USC’s only player that will be drafted. As such, the presence of Keim, Wilks, and McCoy means next to nothing.

We can’t say the same about Leftwich, however. If Arizona was just at the USC Pro Day to scout other players, why would the quarterbacks coach make the trip? That absolutely points to at least some interest on the part of the Cardinals.

Additionally, Arizona has a need under center. The signings of Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon do alleviate some of those concerns, but only to a point.

Glennon is a backup or at most, a stopgap starter. Bradford has slightly more potential. But he’s also very injury prone and is only under contract for two years (with Arizona having an out after one).

So, it’s safe to say that the Cardinals still need a franchise quarterback. Trading up in the draft is really the only way to guarantee that. So, while the presence at USC’s pro day in and of itself doesn’t mean anything in relation to Darnold, it is a fairly logical step.