Carson Palmer guided the Arizona Cardinals to 10 wins last year and a near-postseason berth, but that doesn't mean the team wasn't looking towards the future at the quarterback position in the 2014 NFL Draft.
There's only so many games left in a 34-year-old signal caller and Cardinals GM Steve Keim revealed on Sirius XM NFL Radio that Blake Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was the only quarterback in the draft for whom Arizona had given a first-round grade.
"We're all looking for franchise quarterbacks, young franchise quarterbacks, but you have to be convinced to take one in the first round that this is the guy," Keim said. "In my opinion, there was one guy we were focused on in the first round that we thought was a franchise quarterback ... We liked Blake Bortles a lot, when you looked at his size, his athleticism, his ability to improvise."
He then went on to compare Bortles to Ben Roethlisberger -- a comparison we've all heard before. But, if you're going to be compared to a guy, it's probably good you're being compared to a guy who has won two Super Bowls.
"He doesn't have quite the arm strength that Ben Roethlisberger had but he has some of the same skill set. Naturally, with his foot speed and his athleticism to get out of the pocket and make plays with his feet, as well as stand tall in the pocket and make some of the throws down the field ... We think his upside is pretty big."
Keim finished by explaining that with so much speculation and media hype leading up to the draft, it's easy to misjudge a player like Bortles -- who flew under the radar -- as a guy who was taken too high.
"If a guy goes higher than people anticipated or thought he would go, people make a big deal about it. But at the end of the day, to me, if you trust in your systems and you trust in your evaluations in-house, I think you take the player you wanted and you don't look back."