For those of us who love the Cardinals, just love an underdog, or for those who were simply unaware that the Cardinals were actually an NFL franchise and not just a baseball team from St. Louis until this season, the shock really wasn't that they lost, but that they very nearly won. At the moment at least, it would seem that the Cardinals have a good shot at relevance the next few years should key offensive questions be answered.
The Arizona Cardinals now face the unenviable challenge of not only dealing with the curse of the Super Bowl loser, but having three of their most recognizable players about to either retire (Warner), hold out (Boldin), or continue to stink for far too much money (James). What to do now that their magical run is over?
Their quarterback situation is extremely delicate, will Kurt Warner retire? If he does, is Leinhart really any good? Traditionally, quarterbacks don't hit their stride until their 4th or 5th season, so the reality of the situation is that Leinhart is still as big a mystery as he was the day after the draft. Using a pick on a quarterback regardless of whether or not Warner stays might be a waste given that they have more pressing needs at RB, on their offensive line and at corner. Brian St. Pierre has yet to see any real time but has history with Whisenhunt which makes him a solid number two should Leinhart go down.
Anquan Boldin is definitely worth a contract renegotiation. However, wide receivers traditionally hit their peak at around age 27 and in their 4-6th season. He's now 28, heading into his 7th season, and even though he probably has many more good seasons in him, it’s possible that the Cardinals could sign another decent number three receiver to go with Fitzgerald and Breaston and manage to pick up some free agent o-line help for their beleaguered running game.
Mike Goff from San Diego is a good veteran, whereas young talent is out there in the form of Jordon Gross and Jason Brown. Drafting a wide receiver here will take too long considering Warner's age. Brandon Jones and Roydell Williams (Titans), Jabar Gaffney (NE) and Devery Henderson (New Orleans) are all available this off-season with limited to non-existent criminal records.
The running back needs are more apparent. Edgerrin James still has his edge, but living in the desert with the losing culture has turned him into a paycheck player. The reality was until they were in the playoffs he simply didn't show any passion, which perfectly describes his tenure in Arizona. The guy needs to go somewhere else. Tim Hightower is good, but doesn't have the feel of an every down back - at least not yet. In the short yardage situations though, he proved his worth in Philadelphia on 4th and 1. J.J. Arrington is also likely to shine more once Edgerrin James finally finds his way out of the desert and is still young so it’s possible he may improve from earlier struggles. \
If Arizona uses its first pick in the draft on a running back it should go to either Knowshon Moreno from Georgia or LeSean McCoy of Pittsburgh. Both have good hands, are fast, and have the potential to be good return men. Devon Moore might also be a consideration if they hold off until the later rounds to pick up a RB. He's undersized for an NFL player, but is one of the fastest of the draft class of '09 and could make a good return man as well. Another good late round pick up might be Quinn Johnson from L.S.U., one of the best blocking Fullbacks available in the draft.