So we’re now entering Ken Whisenhunt’s fourth draft as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and looking at what he’s accomplished in the draft so far; Steve Breaston (1000 yard receiver), Levi Brown (2009 Probowl reserve), Tim Hightower (5th round choice), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Probowler), etc. And not to mention, he’ll have Rod Graves, the Cards general manager, who is notorious for having very successful drafts with this organization in the pre-Whiz era.
This year is should be fun though. The Cards have an established offense (Minus a hall of fame QB) but have a lot of holes on the defensive end of things. That makes the first few picks a lot easier, as far as picking positions go. From what I saw last year and from what was lost during the offseason due to trade, free agency of retirement, I have ranked each position from 1-10, one being that the position is set and reserves or starters don’t need to be drafted and 10 meaning that drafting this position is a must.
• Quarterback - 4: The Cardinals are paying Matt Leinart too much to draft another QB right now and the fact that they signed former probowler Derek Anderson from the Cleveland Browns shows that the Cardinals have no intention of developing a new quarterback this season. Unless that certain quarterback’s name is Tim Tebow.
• Runningback - 3: I put this at a three because the Cardinals have two above average runners in the backfield but in this new, stronger, faster NFL, players are getting hurt all the time. It wouldn’t hurt to add a small, flashy back much like Darren Sproles to help out on third down. I know LaRod Stephens-Howlings fits this role but they could definitely use an upgrade there.
• Wide Receivers - 3: This is very similar to the runningback situation. They already have their big three; Larry Fitzgerald, Breaston and Early Doucet; but they did lose Jerheme Urban and Sean Morey to Seattle so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a late pick to be used on a wide out.
• Tight End - 10: If you’ve been around me during a Cardinals game, you know that Ben Patrick is one of ‘my boys.’ The problem is he isn’t very good – not to mention he tested positive for steroids last year and was suspended for four games. Also on the depth chart is Anthony Becht and Stephen Spach, but they’re pretty much lineman who wear jerseys in the 80’s and their hands show it. And with the great depth at the tight end position in this year’s draft, I really expect to see a high pick go towards a tight end. My preference would have to be Jermaine Gresham of Oklahoma. The guy is big, fast, athletic and has good hands. His negative is that he missed all of last year due to a knee injury and missed a year of high school football with an injury in his other knee. I still would really consider taking him in the first round. It will help Matt Leinart settle in nicely.
• Offensive Lineman - 6: You can always use depth on the o-line so expect a pick or two to be a guard or tackle.
• Defensive Front Seven - 10: I know this isn’t a position but with a 3-4 defense, guys can play anywhere. And with the losses of Karlos Dansby and Bertrand Berry, the team desperately needs some quality depth to throw in there. Luckily the team still has Darnell Dockett to dominate the line. And the Cards did make an effort to help fill some of those holes with the signing of sack master Joey Porter but he is an aged man and they could still use some youth. And the Cardinals also need to draft a defensive tackle. Alan Branch, Bryan Robinson and Gabe Watson just really aren’t cutting it anymore – or ever.
• Defensive Secondary - 8: The Cards are set at both safety positions and at one corner position but Bryant McFadden needs to go. I was unfortunate enough to watch the early 2000 Cardinals and saw the worst of the worst but never have I seen a corner as worthless as McFadden. I’ll give him credit, he plays a very genius style of defense. What he does is he runs down the field with the receiver and when he sees the receivers eyes look up at the ball, McFadden throws his arms in the air and just tries to smother the receiver from seeing and catching the ball, making zero attempt to make a catch himself. The problem is that it never works. If the ball doesn’t end up in the receivers hand and then in the end zone, it would have been the easiest interception in McFadden’s life except that because he plays the wideout instead of the ball, he never looks back. I just hate seeing DRC making these incredible plays and then seeing McFadden just look silly out there. Please Cardinals, please draft a new corner to put opposite of Rodgers-Cromartie.
So, what I expect from this draft is for the Cardinals to draft a 3-4 hybrid player or a tight end in the first round and expect the team to stack up on more hybrid players through the weekend.
I’ll write something up after the draft and depending on where I watch the draft, I might try to put some of my thoughts down during the draft.