Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arizona Cardinals: Draft Breakdown

The Cardinals had an amazing season last year, they made the playoffs, then beat the Falcons, Panthers, and Eagles before losing in the Super Bowl to the Steelers.

The only thing they truly lacked was a dominant running back. Edge played well especially during the end of the season, and Hightower scored most of the rushing touchdowns for the Cardinals. Edge is creeping up in years, and Hightower, simply put is not a number one back in the NFL. The Cardinals Defense was good enough but could use improvement, and at wide out they should be just fine. Let's take a look at what they did in the draft.

With the 31st overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft the Arizona Cardinals took Chris "Beanie" Wells. Wells was arguably the best pure running back in the draft this year.

Let's start with the negatives because their are so many positives. Durability is his main flaw, he was hurt a couple time during his career and missed major time last season. Also at times his blocking can be lackluster, he is capable of being a solid blocking back, so with this being stressed in the NFL he will probably improve.

Wells is a large RB at 6'1" 235lbs, and with 25 reps in the bench he is also strong. This said he maintains a low pad level when he runs, allowing him to run through tackles and break through the line of scrimmage. He also used his strength to deploy one of the best stiff arms in college football. Along with his strength he has great breakaway speed (starts at 22secs) and rarely gets caught from behind.

Cody Brown OLB out of UConn was the Cardinals second pick. He is 6'2" 244lbs and uses his hands well, but he is undersized to play DE in the NFL that is why he is already listed as an OLB. He shows good busts of speed off the ball, which he uses to get around offensive linemen. Brown is athletic enough to drop back into coverage, and also could be used on special teams right away.

The Cardinals also picked up arguably the best safety in the SEC in Rashad Johnson. I watched his combine and along with his 4.53 second forty yard dash he moved very fluidly through drills and rarely wasted steps. He has great instincts and gets to the ball very quickly. His only downside is his size, he only put up 225lbs 15 times, he is going to need to add bulk if he wants to get off blocks in the NFL.

All being said I like what the Cardinals did, They picked late and picked well. I do worry about Brown and Johnson because they are both going to have issues with size in thew NFL, but if they can handle the adjustment and Wells can stay healthy this could prove to be a very good draft for the Cardinals.

Overall Draft Grade: B-

(Great tackle at 1:02)

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