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Could Cardinals be chasing Carson Palmer's successor?

INDIANAPOLIS -- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians doesn't seem as down on this class of quarterbacks as others.

"I see, so far, five to six really good arms," Arians said Wednesday. "Guys with good stature and my job is to find out more and more about them. Starting here, I don't put as much stock in them throwing at the combine as I do their tape. They're throwing routes they may not have thrown and to (new receivers). If they do throw well, that's a blessing. I'm just getting to know them."

Reporters asked Arians about the position in broad strokes during his combine interview because he's an insightful coach with an encyclopedic knowledge of quarterback play, but it was interesting to hear him discuss his personal selection process. While Carson Palmer is coming back for the 2017 season, there always exists a chance that Arians will want to have Palmer's replacement waiting on the bench. Palmer, 37, nearly walked away from the game this offseason.

General manager Steve Keim said Wednesday that if he were to draft a young quarterback, it would be valuable to do so with Palmer still on the roster.

"It's a double-edged sword," Arians said. "We want to win now because we feel like we have that window but we also have to take care of the future. If that guy is available for us -- the ones we've liked haven't been available. They've always gotten snatched when we've liked to have them. If he's there and he's the guy we want, I think we'll pull the trigger."

Arians riffed on his process when asked about how team success factors in to his evaluation of a quarterback.

"You have to see if they're the reason for the team success. Or, do they have a great defense and he's just a game manager. You look at every aspect of the quarterback. Mental aspect. Heart and head -- they're the hardest to evaluate. I can see his arm strength, I can see his speed and I can see him jump, but the two things he plays with -- his brain and his heart -- they're really hard to evaluate. That's the process that starts now."

Arizona is bringing back a talented, veteran-heavy roster which was a few bad breaks away from another strong season. Arians thinks he has the remedy -- he will go to a full-tackling training camp this summer -- and he may not need to use a first or second-round pick on an immediate starter. We've seen the magic that Arians can have with young quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, but it would be fascinating to watch one he hand-selects as a head coach.

The future of the organization will be very much in flux after 2017, with pillars like Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald flirting with life outside of football. Arians and Keim need to make sure the Cardinals are taken care of in 2018 and beyond.

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