The Arizona Cardinals just might be in the market for a quarterback.
No, not for next season, with 2015 Pro Bowler Carson Palmer slated to start once again and Drew Stanton in place as a capable backup.
But many experts believe it's time the Cards begin to plan for the future by drafting a QB whom the 36-year-old Palmer can pass the torch to when his NFL career is over.
Take a look at five QBs whom the Cards might take a look at, either in the first round or beyond, at this year's NFL Draft. (Click on each player's name to access their NFL.com draft profile.)
The collegiate accomplishments of the Michigan State alum is tough to top. A four-year starter, the 6-foot-4, 217-pound Cook racked up numerous conference and national awards.
Cook “has shown consistent improvement and added new elements to his game each year,” and “can operate with a high level of confidence and efficiency,” according to his NFL.com draft profile. On the downside, Cook often struggles to make short, quick throws and has struggled at times in “big-game” environments.
Cook is seen as a borderline first-second-round pick, which means the Cards wouldn’t be reaching if they took him with their first-round selection (29th overall) on the first day of the draft.
At 6-foot-7 and 244 pounds, the Memphis product is one of the most athletically gifted QBs in the draft, and his ability to elude tacklers and make plays with his feet is impressive.
According to his draft profile, Lynch is a good decision-maker but will need time to adjust to the NFL game. That could make him a good fit in Arizona, where he could learn for a season or more behind Palmer.
Like Cook, Lynch is projected as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder -- and in terms of his NFL potential, he’s generally thought of more highly than Cook is. What's more, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Lynch reminds him of Palmer.
The Cardinals already scheduled a private workout for the Ohio State product who has, for better or worse, been compared to former Cardinals QB Logan Thomas.
NFL.com's draft profile describes the 6-foot-5, 253-pounder as having “great size to see over the offensive line and bulk to withstand NFL hits,” adding he is a “pocket passer with as much arm as you need.”
On the down side, Jones doesn’t have much experience as a starter at OSU and “struggled to adjust once defensive coordinators had time to prepare for him.” Nonetheless, if Jones falls to the third or fourth round, as some project he will, the Cards may decide to take a flyer on him.
Penn State’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns is described as “durable and tough” but hasn’t always performed like one would expect a future NFL starter to perform, according to scouting reports.
According to NFL.com, the 6-foot-4, 223-pounder’s “tools, intelligence and experience under center should make him an eventual starter, but his boom-or-bust potential will either get a coach an extension or fired.”
Hackenberg is a projected second- or third-round pick. The Cards traded their second-round pick in this year's draft, so if they’re intent on grabbing him, they’ll either have to make a trade or hope he falls to them deep in Round 3.
NFL.com describes the 6-foot-4, 231-pounder from N.C. State as an "NFL-caliber" passer who reminds some of last year's No. 1 overall pick, Jameis Winston. "But Winston understood the nuances of the position early in his college career, while Brissett is still learning," according to that profile.
ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said the Cardinals could take Brissett with their third-round pick. "Given time to work under Palmer and learn from quarterback guru Bruce Arians, there's a chance Brissett could eventually emerge as an adequate starter," he wrote.