Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim discusses the challenge of avoiding drafting players with ‘red flags’

– You know this, Steve, being in this league– former executive of the year in 2014– that it is largely– not that you’re completely quarterback-dependent, but they touch the ball 65 times– you gotta that position right. I’ve said this. I think Darnold and Rosen are first-round quarterback picks. I think Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson are worthy of pick, but probably not, in my opinion, first round. I personally would struggle to draft Baker Mayfield.

I can’t get over the police video. I can’t get over the antics. How does that land for you when you have multiple tapes of, what I would call, questionable judgment by a super talented quarterback?

– Well, number one, Colin, I mean, the one thing I’ve learned through the years is, as a young scout, we all get enamored with the arm strength and the physical traits that these guys possess. And as you’ve seen– guys have success in the NFL at that position– the one common denominator is what’s between the ears and their ability to process information. So now, to me, I look at it a little bit differently, but at the same time, what you were just talking about.

As I look back and I self-evaluate guys, I’ve missed on guys that the league has missed on. When there are red flags– whether it’s off the field, whether it’s learning ability, whether it’s medical concerns– where we make our mistakes, is when we ignore those red flags. And, to me, that’s the biggest struggle because you’re enticed by the talent, yet at the same time, those guys don’t usually change.

– Yeah, that’s kind of my theory on Baker, is that, listen, I believe– this is just my opinion on Sam Darnold– you can agree or disagree, but I like his human traits and physical traits. He’s big, he’s trunky, he’s thick, he’s got good feet, there’s no ego, a blue collar work ethic. He’s a humble kid. I just like those traits.

I don’t know how much you can talk about, a Sam Darnold, specifically. I compare him to an Andrew Luck. Is there something about him that you really like?

– Well, I think you just nailed it. I mean, all the information that comes out of the school and the information that we’ve received about Darnold is what you just nailed. I mean, it’s the intangibles. It’s his attention to detail.

And he does have those physical traits, on tape, that you get excited about. The ability to throw the ball, vertically, down the field, to be able to drive those deep outs with velocity. So, to me, he’s an interesting prospect. And, again, all of these guys– as you know, Colin– are projections, which is the fun part of the business because it’s a challenge.

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