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Bruce Arians: Arizona Cardinals should select Louisville QB Lamar Jackson

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The Sports Xchange
Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws under pressure from NC State's Tyrone Riley (95) during the second half of play on October 22, 2016 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. File photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws under pressure from NC State's Tyrone Riley (95) during the second half of play on October 22, 2016 at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky. File photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

Bruce Arians may be looking toward his next job in the broadcast booth, but that doesn't mean he has stopped thinking about his former team.

The former Arizona Cardinals coach was quite adamant that the team should select Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, if available, with the 15th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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Jackson, who is the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, passed for more than 3,500 yards and ran for more than 1,500 in each of his final two college seasons before declaring early for the NFL Draft. He was measured at 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds at the Combine.

"That's one guy I really am intrigued with because he can spin it and he's been in a pro-style offense and he's been hard coached by Bobby [Petrino]," Arians said, via AZCentral.com. "He brings that unique skill-set, and it makes me look back at Vince Young.

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"Vince could beat you and he was a heck of a leader. I don't know why it didn't work out for him, but listening to him now, telling his story, he's like, 'I didn't put the time in.' I think Lamar puts the time in. He's going to get better, and he just brings that unique ability to break the game open with his legs."

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NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang lists USC quarterback Sam Darnold first in his most recent Big Board. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson and North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb round out the top five.

Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is ranked 10th by Rang while former Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma is 14th and Jackson 15th.

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Arians knows a thing or two about quarterbacks, as he has enjoyed success with Carson Palmer, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning during his coaching years in the NFL.

Palmer retired at the start of the 2018 calendar year and Arians followed suit.

The 65-year-old Arians isn't accepting the notion that Jackson isn't ready to be an NFL-style passer.

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"He's been in a pro-style offense," Arians said. "He's more of a scrambler with designed runs. I don't think I'd design runs for him. I would just let him, a la Russell Wilson, take what's there, and whoosh, take off running."

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The Cardinals have two quarterbacks on the roster in Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon. Bradford, who signed a one-year contract worth $20 million in the offseason, has started all 16 games in a season only twice in seven NFL seasons, and Glennon didn't pan out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.

"Sam, when he's been healthy, has had some big-time years," Arians said. "I've always been a fan of his. Sometimes it's just bad luck, so you hope you have good luck. And I'm a big fan of Mike Glennon. I always have been. ... We tried to get him a couple years ago."

The Cleveland Browns, who are coming off a 0-16 campaign, are expected to pick a high-profile quarterback with either the No. 1 or 4 selection in this year's draft.

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