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Rookie Review – Arizona Cardinals
Team Draft Needs:
Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Nose Tackle, Inside Linebacker
Team Draft Picks:
Pick #26 Dan Williams – Defensive Tackle – Tennessee
Pick #47 Daryl Washington – Inside Linebacker – TCU
Pick #88 Andre Roberts – Wide Receiver – Citadel
Pick #130 O’Brien Schofield – Defensive End – Wisconsin
Pick #155 John Skelton – Quarterback – Fordham
Pick #201 Jorrick Calvin – Cornerback – Troy
Pick #233 Jim Dray – Tight End – Stanford
Team Draft Trades:
Arizona sends Anquan Boldin and their fifth round pick to Baltimore for the Ravens’ third and fourth round picks.
The team got a steal in nose tackle Dan Williams, who was predicted to go as high as pick #12 by some mock draft “experts”. Williams fell all the way to number 26 and will anchor their 3-4 scheme. Williams is big, weighing 327 pounds and has a nasty attitude. He will occupy opponent offensive linemen, which will free up Arizona linebackers and allow them to stuff the run gaps. Rookie inside linebacker Daryl Washington and newly signed outside linebacker Joey Porter will benefit from Williams’ addition.
The interesting part of this draft is that the Cardinals had an opportunity to draft quarterback Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame as a potential replacement for Kurt Warner. The Cards chose to pass on Clausen and sign Derek Anderson as their back-up. This signifies that the team seems to be comfortable with former first round draft pick Matt Leinart to lead the team from this point forward.
The potential sleeper pick is wide receiver Andre Roberts from Citadel. Steve Breaston and Early Doucet are expected to compete for Anquan Boldin’s slot position, but that doesn’t mean that Roberts can’t make an impact this season. Roberts will immediately improve the Cardinals’ special teams. He returned 68 punts for 942 yards and three touchdowns during his college career. He’s fast and runs sharp routs. He should be a good addition to this offense.
So, the Cardinals reinforce their defense and special teams, but never answered their biggest questions on the offensive line. The team is making the transition to a younger, more inexperienced quarterback in Leinart and they still didn’t add any long-term solutions on the offensive line. The team signed Alan Faneca in free agency, but how much gas is left in his 33-year-old tank? I think that the Cards did the best they could with the picks they had and are only trying to buy more time. Faneca gives them a veteran on that left side that adds some stability. The team will now get to see if Levi Brown can be the franchise left tackle that the team needs. The franchise hopes that Brown might benefit from Faneca’s knowledge and tutelage.
Overall, I like what they did this year in the draft. They addressed several needs and added young players that could reinforce their defense. They can’t replace the star power that they loss in free agency, but they did a good job at finding players that could have a long-term role in their newer 3-4 scheme.