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Cardinals to draft a QB at No. 5? 'I doubt it,' Fitzgerald says

  • By NFL.com
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Many people believe the Arizona Cardinals will take a quarterback with the No. 5 overall pick in this month's draft. Don't count Larry Fitzgerald among them.

"I would doubt that we would draft a quarterback that high. I would doubt it," the Cardinals' Pro Bowl wide receiver told FoxSportsArizona.com on Tuesday. "But who am I? I'm just a player. Management hasn't told me if they are going to go in any direction."

So what will the Cardinals do?
Larry Fitzgerald doesn't believes Arizona will use the No. 5 pick on a quarterback, but three of our four experts peg Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert
being bound for the desert. Mock Draft Central

» On the beat: Cardinals at No. 5

Maybe not, but in February, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt admitted to The Arizona Republic that he solicited Fitzgerald's advice about quarterbacks. Another report claimed Fitzgerald pushed for the team to acquire Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb in a trade or sign free-agent-to-be Marc Bulger.

"You're very aware that we have an open-door policy," Whisenhunt said. "We solicit input from players on a lot of things, game plans, plays, travel to the East Coast. Things in training camp. When I was interviewed (in 2007), they had players who were a portion of the interviews."

On Tuesday, after taking batting practice with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Fitzgerald said he was in favor of the Cardinals drafting "anybody that's going to help us win," but he also offered some detailed analysis on Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton -- who are expected to be the first two quarterbacks off the board.

Fitzgerald said he has seen Gabbert play a lot, on tape and in person.

"I really like Blaine," Fitzgerald said. "He's a talented player. He makes all the throws. He's got good mobility in the pocket, and he seems like a real cerebral guy. I think he is going to be a good fit wherever he lands."

Fitzgerald had even higher praise for Newton.

"We saw him on the field for 13 games this year, and he was hands down the best player in all of college football," Fitzgerald said. "When you are a player that talented at that level on that stage in the SEC, doing it every single week, it's going to be hard to deny what he is going to be able to do in the NFL. I think he will be a good pro."

Fitzgerald believes Newton can have success as a mobile quarterback at the next level.

"I think he'll do just fine," Fitzgerald said. "You look at guys like Donovan McNabb. He did a phenomenal job of adjusting. Even Michael Vick. He was a running quarterback in college, and he has become a really good drop-back pocket passer with the ability to run, which even presents more challenges for a team to deal with."

The Cardinals fell to 5-11 in 2010 after the retirement of quarterback Kurt Warner, who led the team to playoff appearances the previous two seasons. Arizona's offense struggled behind a rotation of Derek Anderson, John Skelton and Max Hall, but Fitzgerald still managed to make 90 catches for 1,137 yards and six touchdowns. It was his fifth 1,000-yard receiving season in seven years.

Fitzgerald already is working toward better results next season. Per his invite, about 20 Cardinals informally worked out at Arizona State University's practice field Tuesday. The group included running back Tim Hightower, center Lyle Sendlein, linebacker Clark Haggans, Skelton and Hall, according to The Arizona Republic.

"Fitz put the word out, and guys have responded," offensive lineman Rex Hadnot told the newspaper. "This is what being a pro is about. When things aren't going the way they've always gone, you must continue to do what you must do to put yourself in a successful situation."

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