NFL Draft Rumors: Arizona Cardinals Want To Trade Up For Deshaun Watson

According to Pro Football Talk, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has spent the last few weeks of the offseason contemplating retirement and while head coach Bruce Arians did appear on ESPN Friday and say that he expects Palmer to come back next year, it certainly signals to the team that it’s time to start looking for Carson’s successor.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the team doesn’t select until No. 13 in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft and that likely means that all of the top quarterbacks will be gone by the time they make their first selection.

In his most recent 2017 mock draft,‘s Lance Zierlein has the San Francisco 49ers selecting North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Zierlein then has the Buffalo Bills selecting Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson with the No. 10 selection in the first round and its Watson who the Arizona Cardinals have the most interest in, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

La Canfora reported that the Cardinals are extremely high on Watson and are prepared to trade up in order to put themselves in position to select the Clemson quarterback. If the price to move up is too high, La Canfora mentioned Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor as another possible option for Bruce Arians’ vertical offense.

In 2015, Deshaun Watson led Clemson to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game by completing 67.8 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Watson also added 207 carries for 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns as the Tigers came up just short against Alabama in the title game, 45-40.

Despite the loss, Watson was incredible against the best defense in the nation as he completed 30-of-47 passes for 405 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Deshaun was also able to add 20 carries for 73 yards on the ground, but the Tigers just weren’t able to get the job done.

Watson entered his junior season in 2016, as the odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. While Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson would end up winning the award, Deshaun put up numbers worthy of being a finalist and received an invitation to New York for the ceremony.

Deshaun completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards with 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2016, while adding 165 carries for 629 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. It was enough to lead the Tigers to a College Football Playoff appearance where Clemson would take on Ohio State in the semifinals.

Against the Buckeyes, Watson completed 23-of-36 passes for 259 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions and added 15 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns on the ground en route to a 31-0 victory. The win gave the Clemson Tigers a rematch against the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Nobody gave the Tigers a chance going into the game against a defense loaded with NFL talent, but Watson once again put the team on his shoulders on the way to a 35-31 victory. Deshaun completed 36-of-56 passes for 420 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

The performance against Alabama grossly improved Deshaun Watson’s draft stock and put him squarely in the discussion of being the top quarterback selected in the 2017 NFL Draft and in the discussion as a top-10 pick.

It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals are really willing to move up and select Watson or if the price ends up being too much.

Should the Arizona Cardinals move up to select Deshaun Watson? Let us know what you think in the comments.

[Featured Image by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]