Obviously, we all know that the Cardinals made out like bandits in the first round, selecting cornerback Patrick Peterson with the 5th overall pick. Arizona now has the most dangerous secondary in football, period.
With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Peterson patrolling the corners, and Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes ball-hawking and destroying receivers and runners alike, opposing teams will not be happy about playing the Arizona Cardinals.
That is, if the Cards late defensive picks work out. In the first two rounds, Arizona took players that did not fill a specific need. Ryan Williams now complements a backfield that includes Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower and Larod Stephens-Howling.
Williams is a stud and will make Arizona’s backfield just that much more dangerous. At 5’9” and 212, he is extremely elusive and has a fantastic burst. In the second round, he was too much value for the Cardinals (who had him ranked as their number 15 OVERALL player) to pass up on and they nabbed him up.
At first, I questioned this pick. When the Cardinals selected TE Rob Housler in the third round, I was disgusted. It’s not that I don’t like Housler, he has the potential to be great. I would have just liked to see another need filled at that pick.
However, I was blinded by the fact that the Cardinals hadn’t filled a significant need as of yet. I didn’t see the Whiz’ master plan.
Ken Whisenhunt had his eye on Texas DE Sam Acho all along. There were linebackers that could have fit in Arizona available earlier, yes. But the Cards showed no interest in Acho, allowing him to fall to them.
He is a raw player that played linebacker in his first two seasons and transitioned to DE. Acho said that a transition to outside linebacker for him would be “easy”.
He also said all the right things when he was drafted, making me believe in Acho and Whisenhunt’s choices. At 6’1” 262 pounds, Acho is a physical specimen. He will need to adapt to NFL schemes and learn to play a new position at an incredibly high level, but he automatically adds depth to a now younger and stronger linebacking core.
Then we get to the fifth round… A fullback? Really? However, Anthony Sherman is an outstanding special teams player and an excellent fullback, both blocking and running the ball. Plus, Sherman put up more reps on the bench press at the combine than any other running back.
I believe the Cardinals really made their draft a special one late in the draft, with their two 6th round picks. The Cardinals were able to land inside linebacker Quan Sturdivant with their first of the 6th rounders. Sturdivant was a solid tackler in college, and will transition well to the pro game. He is not the most gifted athlete in the draft; however he is a knowledgeable player with experience who can impact and fight for playing time right away.
If that isn’t value in the 6th round, I don’t know what is. Then the Cards added defensive line depth with UCLA’s David Carter. Carter won’t take Dan Williams starting job any time soon, but a fresh pair of legs that can rotate in once in a while can’t hurt.
With their 7th round compensatory pick, the Cardinals took San Diego State wide receiver Demarco Sampson, who could end up being a steal. He will have a lot of competition though on this Cardinals roster.
So, I must say, I questioned the Cardinals picks early in the draft, but they consistently got value and potential in all of their picks. Head scratching or genius? I guess that all depends on how Sam Acho works out as a pass rushing outside linebacker.
Peterson will be an impact player in this league for years to come. Ryan Williams and Anthony Sherman could be the final pieces to the puzzle that allows our running game to flourish.
Sturdivant and Carter were steals at the end of the draft, and TE Housler could be an explosive weapon as well, running a 4.46 40 at the combine and making Ken Whisenhunt, a former TE himself, jump at the chance to take him in the third round…