Arizona Cardinals 2011 NFL Draft Review

The Cardinals didn’t hesitate to turn in their draft card to Commissioner Goodell with Patrick Peterson’s name written on it. General Manager Rod Graves, Coach Ken Whisenhunt, and their respective staffs unanimously had Peterson as a top five value pick. Many organizations, including Ourlads, had the rangy corner as the top player in the draft. Whisenhunt said it was imperative that Arizona draft an impact player at number five. Ryan Williams was selected in the second round and was the highest running back on their board. The Cards’ board favored smart and highly motivated players who have the talent to contribute on special teams. The quarterback void will be filled during the free agency period. A trade is also another avenue the Cardinals may go down to fill a major team weakness. Patrick Peterson is a versatile athlete who has a rare skill set to lockdown a wide receiver and blitz from a variety of angles. He gives the Red Birds multiple defensive options. On top of his value as a corner, he brings confidence, courage, and production as a return specialist. Peterson will line up opposite former pro bowl corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Ryan Williams is a three down back who is powerful, strong, and can break arm tackles. Taking Williams in the second round surprised the Card’ faithful with needs at quarterback, linebacker, and the offensive line. Williams joins Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Tim Hightower’s contract has expired and may not be back. Rob Housler was drafted to give the Cards a speed mismatch in man to man or zone coverage. He is a very loose athlete with good body control and balance. He flashes a burst off the line of scrimmage and gets into his routes quickly. Not a point of attack blocker yet, but he has the frame to gain weight and strength. Defensive end Sam Acho was drafted as a projection to outside linebacker in the Cards’ 3-4 scheme. A selection as a pass rusher was a major need along with quarterback. The transition should be painless with Acho’s intelligence and work ethic. He made a big impression at the Senior Bowl with his sack around first round choice Nate Solder and his relentless play during the week. Anthony Sherman is a pure I-formation fullback who will help upgrade the lead blocking position in the running game. Sherman was the highest rated player on their board at pick 136 in the fifth round. He is a good athlete who is solid in pass protection. Linebacker Quan Sturdivant was a steal in the sixth round. A four year starter, he has experience at both inside and outside linebacker. He’s an instinctive sideline to sideline force with good quickness. David Carter is a developmental five technique defensive end who had a strong senior year. Kenny Iwebema, Alan Branch, and Gabe Watson are all free agents. Productive wide receiver DeMarco Sampson is injury prone and over-aged and is probably headed to the practice squad. GRADE: GOOD.

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