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MI_Buckeye
05-02-2011, 01:19 PM
Welcome back. I present to you the second part of my 32-part series reviewing each team's draft performance. This time, I will be reviewing what the Arizona Cardinals did this weekend. Come back tomorrow for my reviews of the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Arizona Cardinals

Where did the franchise stand before the draft;

For the Cardinals, the recipe is clear. When they have a top-flight QB, they are capable of great things. When they have a mess at the position, they can downright ugly.

In year one Post-Kurt Warner, the Cardinals made the best possible case that the former Iowa grocery stockboy belongs in the Hall of Fame. With Warner, the Cardinals won an NFC championship and had one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Without him, they had one of the most anemic offenses in football.

Even with one of the NFL's most talented WR corps in Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, among others, The Cards had one of the worst passing attacks the league has seen in a while. The Cardinals released former top ten pick and uber-bust Matt Leinart before the season, a decision they may have com to regret after suffering through 2010 with veteran underachiever Derrick Anderson and two developmental rookies in Max Hall and John Skelton. Neither Hall nor Skelton were ready and Anderson appears to be on the outs the desert.

Although their most pressing need, QB play is not the only issue in Arizona. Even during their playoff years, the Cards needed to find ways to manufacture a pass rush, never having that stud on the edge to get in the backfield consistently and draw double teams. Once-great Jerry Porter and Clark Haggans are both free agents and appear to be in the last throes of their career. The running game has been in need of a transformation for a long time, as former first-rounder Beanie Wells has been a disappointment and Tim Hightower has zero explosiveness. The offensive line was sufficient with the ultra-smooth Warner in the pocket but got exposed last year protecting guys who took a little longer to process the field.

All these issues aside, the Cardinals are still contenders, because they play in the NFC West. Sure, St. Louis appears to be on the upswing with a stud young QB, but they are not there yet, and Seattle and San Francisco remain among the league's most flawed teams.

The picks

Round One, Pick 5: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

The top player on my board should now make for a deadly tandem on the edges with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with Greg Toler playing the role of one of the league's best nickelbacks.

Peterson is the biggest CB I ever remember being called truly elite. At 220 pounds, many believe his best fit long-term will be at safety (much like new teammate Antrel Rolle), but his size should be seen as an asset, not a detriment. Peterson played a variety of coverages in LSU's exotic John Chavis-coordinated defense, and his best coverage was actually off-man IMO. He runs in the low 4.3s and was the best return man in college football last season, so any concerns that he is not athletic enough to excel at CB in the NFL seem quite spurrious.

Peterson and DRC are both dynamic players with the ball in their hands, and seeing as how they should both have plenty of balls thrown their way, that could result in plenty of defensive touchdowns for the Cards in 2011 and beyond. This tandem will certainly assist their anemic pass rush too. Adrian Wilson is one of the best-blitzing safeties in the NFL, and he might as well be a linebacker with these two studs outside.

My only reservation is that they did not nab their QB of the future. Granted, they did get a great player at a crucial position, but I am a big fan of Blaine Gabbert, and they are not going to be making any more deep playoff runs until they fix the QB position. However, I look for them to get one of the several QBs on the market whenever the lockout ends, so Peterson actually was the best pick they could have made for the 2011 season.

Rounds Two, Pick 38: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

If Beanie Wells can ever overcome his injuries and inconsistency, this could end up being a luxury pick. However, Williams is indeed a very talented back with good speed and a bellcow body.

Williams came into the year riding tons of hype from his breathtaking 2009 RS freshman season, but did not live up to expectations this past season. Still, the Cards reportedly had him No. 15 on their board and are counting on him to return to 2009 form. Coach Ken Whisenhunt wants the offense to resemble the old Steelers offenses he coordinated earlier in the decade, and the physical Williams helps turn them in that direction.

On the downside, Williams battled injuries last season and his durability was heavily scrutinized during the draft process. He is a bit of a straight-line runner without great lateral agility or terrific patience.

Round Three, Pick 69: Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic

Housler came on in a big way as a senior in 2010 but made an even bigger splash at the Combine. Running in the low 4.5s at just under 6'6" and 250 pounds and impressing in positional drills and interviews, Housler emerged at one of the biggets risers during the postseason, especially in a weak crop of tight ends.

Housler should become a move tight end and H-back, something the Cardinals don't have much of in their primarily blocking TE corps. The top of the third might seem a bit high to take a guy who is still super raw, but teams have been drifting many a safety over the deep wide side of the field where Fitz has been, and they need someone to make teams respect the deep middle. Jim Dray and Ben Patrick don't do that.

Expect Housler to start off as a situational player but take on larger role as the season progresses. The Cardinals simply don't have the veterans to keep him on the bench, and he has received high marks for his intelligence and work ethic.

Round Four, Pick 103: Sam Acho, DE, Texas

Let's face it, the world would probably a better place if Sam Acho got cut. He simply has bigger and more important things to do with his life. You want to talk about a guy with ZERO character concerns, this is the guy. Grotesquely bright and leader in the community, Acho is also an overachiever of the field, playing the game the way it should be played and was one of the most successful pass rushers in the history of the University of Texas.

That being said, this isn't Brian Orakpo here. Acho is only marginally gifted athletically and he will probably never be more than a nice rotational player. The Cardinals badly need some big-time edge rushers, but Acho simply does not offer any of that upside.

Round Five, Pick 136: Anthony Sherman, FB, UConn

Sherman is a typical Steeler-type player. He is probably a pure blocking fullback at the next level. Sherman doesn't have ideal size but is as feisty as they come and appears to jones for the type of collisions you can only get playing his position.

Sherman is also a one of the draft's best special teams players, excelling in every unit. He provides great late-round value and should stick with the team for years to come.

Round Six, Pick 171: Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina

One of the true shockers of the draft. How Sturdivant, who was so good in college and surprised people with how well he tested in the offseason, fell this far, I have no idea.

Sturdivant is one of the smoothest linebackers in the draft. He plays hard throughout the game and makes plays with solid instincts. Sturdivant should make a nice role for himself behind Paris Lennon and Daryl Washington and should be a viable candidate to take over when Lennon moves on.

Round Six, Pick 184: David Carter, DE, UCLA

Carter moves over from the one-gap scheme he played at UCLA to play the five technique for the Cards. This is a bit of a surprise pick since I thought of Carter as mostly a three technique, but the Cardinals must see something to make them think he is physical enough to hold ground in the running game.

Round Seven, Pick 249: Demarco Sampson, WR, San Diego State

Sampson is a late-round developmental possession receiver. Might not have great special teams value and I don't think he makes the team.

All in all:

It was a very interesting draft for the Cardinals. I can't fault them for taking Peterson, but it appears clear they are dumping all their eggs in the veteran QB market.

Peterson is wonderful, and I really like both the Sherman and Sturdivant picks. I didn't think Williams was the greatest pick, especially since I thought Mikel Leshoure was a much better prospect. The Housler pick could pay nice dividends but is a huge gamble.

I like the talent level overall, but the Cards still left a lot of questions lingering.

Draft Grade: B+

wicket
05-02-2011, 01:27 PM
i think you are harsh on achos athletic ability, he was easily my favourite pick for the cards

roscoesdad27
05-02-2011, 04:50 PM
The favorites for the Kolb Derby imho either him or maybe McNabb but they'll be upgraded at q.b. either way. I'm much more concerned about the lack of a pass rush. When a 3-4 d.e. is the teams leading sack producer that makes 3-4 olb a priority. Peterson was an awesome pick but taking a luxury pick in round 2 instead of an olb like brooks reed was a mistake. I like Acho but damn man, waiting until round 4 to address the most pressing need isn't a good idea even if Acho was a slight steal.

fenikz
05-02-2011, 04:55 PM
Acho is just as athletic as guys like Brooks Reed & Jabaal Sheard who went in the 2nd but like you said he is also the perfect role model, as smart as the come and has a none stop motor. I don't see anyone can't love the pick.

But other than that and thinking LeShoure is a better prospect than Williams(you need to watch some tape there) it's a pretty decent draft review.

Most rumors for our QB situation point to Bulger, Kolb or Hasselbeck, any of which will be 10x more productive than Gabbert in the next few years while Skelton develops

edit: watch this and tell me he isn't the most talenten RB in this draft, plus you have to love his attitude, a real team leader
LddTmQNu4ug

FUNBUNCHER
05-02-2011, 05:16 PM
To me, Whisenhunt has become part of the problem in Arizona. I doubt he's around by the time the Cards 'find' their franchise QB.

He just should have started 'game manager' Matt Leinart the entire 2010 season and dealt with it.

Acho is a future starter, his athletic ability is right on par for an NFL OLB.

Why the Cards passed on Mallett THREE TIMES I'll never know. That's the pick that tells me Whisenhunt should be looking for a job someplace else.

He lucked up into Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner, but the man IMO doesn't know NFL quarterbacks.

fenikz
05-02-2011, 05:19 PM
Leinart isn't a NFL QB, Whis didn't draft him but gave him every opportunity in the world, he was 3rd string on the Texans and got beat out by a UDFA in training camp, people need to realize this and stop defending him.

Mallett has far more concerns than just being a coke fiend. He is extremely unathletic and behind our line he wouldn't stand a chance. He is Derek Anderson 2.0 with a coke problem there is a reason he fell, The Patriots have a million picks a year and have the luxury of taking someone like him the Cardinals don't.

FUNBUNCHER
05-02-2011, 05:35 PM
Leinart isn't a NFL QB, Whis didn't draft him but gave him every opportunity in the world, he was 3rd string on the Texans and got beat out by a UDFA in training camp, people need to realize this and stop defending him.

Mallett has far more concerns than just being a coke fiend. He is extremely unathletic and behind our line he wouldn't stand a chance. He is Derek Anderson 2.0 with a coke problem there is a reason he fell, The Patriots have a million picks a year and have the luxury of taking someone like him the Cardinals don't.

Leinart was released and signed by the Texans. Of course he didn't know the playbook, so his being '3rd string' last season isn't an indictment IMO, since none of Schaub's backups saw the field.

Larry Fitz has said more than once the relationship between Leinart and Whisenhunt was 'toxic'. When a HC's personal feelings about a player affect his evaluation of that player, that's a problem with the HC.

Maybe Leinart's game is more Orton/Bulger than Brady/Manning, but that doesn't mean he isn't an NFL QB.

Skelton, Derek Anderson and Bartell are NFL QBs??? Please.

And quit comparing Derek Anderson to Mallett. Go log on to the internet and check out Derek Anderson's career at Oregon State.

The dude was a flat-out BUM coming out of college. There's no comparison in their games, except maybe arm strength.

You selected a raw TE prospect instead of drafting a QB who could start in September. Strange move.

Mallett is about as mobile as Kurt Warner, I don't think he would have a problem completing passes to Fitz.

fenikz
05-02-2011, 05:43 PM
Warner had one of the fastest read/releases in NFL history, you clearly have a bias agenda i'm just gonna put you on ignore so you don't have to bother replying

Bucs_Rule
05-02-2011, 06:24 PM
Thought Akeem Ayers was a way better pick then any RB at top of second round. Much harder to get good pass rush prospect then RB.

fenikz
05-02-2011, 06:31 PM
Ya I would of loved Ayers but Acho in the 4th entirely made up for it, while I don't think I could say the same if we took Helu, Hunter or Jones in the 4th

CrankthatCrabtree
05-02-2011, 07:04 PM
Leinart isn't a NFL QB, Whis didn't draft him but gave him every opportunity in the world, he was 3rd string on the Texans and got beat out by a UDFA in training camp, people need to realize this and stop defending him.

Mallett has far more concerns than just being a coke fiend. He is extremely unathletic and behind our line he wouldn't stand a chance. He is Derek Anderson 2.0 with a coke problem there is a reason he fell, The Patriots have a million picks a year and have the luxury of taking someone like him the Cardinals don't.

...I would say the Cardinals moreso don't have the luxury of taking an RB with their second round pick.

Also, putting all your eggs into the basket of a 6th round pick QB who really didn't show much is kind of ridiculous

PossibleCabbage
05-02-2011, 07:14 PM
You're underrating Acho's athletic ability. He's not especially fast, but his agility is off the charts for a guy his size. His 3-cone (6.69) was the best of all of the 3-4 OLB prospects in the draft, the only guy who was close went #2 overall.

fenikz
05-02-2011, 07:17 PM
I don't see how drafting a RB when Tim Hightower is your best RB is a luxury pick, Williams and Hyphen is a scary duo and it will either force Beanie Wells off the team or to become a better player. Whis wants a run heavy offense and Stumble & Fumble were not getting it done.

CrankthatCrabtree
05-02-2011, 07:43 PM
Beanie Wells and Hightower were serviceable. It was in no way one of their major needs. Not to mention RB is by far the easiest position to fill with in later rounds. Taking an RB in the top rounds is pretty much ALWAYS a luxury pick. The team just had WAY bigger needs to get just ok/weak value on a position like RB

fenikz
05-02-2011, 08:09 PM
It was great value imo, he was every bit as good if not better than Mark Ingram in 09, Whis & Co personally had him 15th on the BB

CrankthatCrabtree
05-02-2011, 08:13 PM
...just about no one had Ryan Williams going that early. Calling it great value is laughable.

Of course if you go by the teams "alleged" board, then every single pick of every single round would likely be considered good to great value(outside of say the the top 10 picks). So that thinking is kind of thinking is idiotic