Everyone loves Christmas. Everyone loves the NFL. It's natural, then, that people love the NFL draft. It is like Christmas for the teams in the NFL, bet even better. They get to pick their gift from all of the ones that are available to them.
The Arizona Cardinals were very happy to discover that after 25 selections, no other team had yet taken the really big gift—that gift being Dan Williams, the 6'2", 327 pound defensive tackle from Tennessee.
In defense of the other teams, there were some much flashier gifts (Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Dez Bryant, CJ Spiller) and a couple big and flashy gifts (Gerald McCoy and Ndamukong Suh).
Williams, I guess, was the big gift that was wrapped nicely, but not as nicely as it could have been.
For the second year in a row, the Cardinals land a player that they coveted highly, yet felt would not likely be available by the time their pick came.
Last year it was Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells (a very flashy gift that many though was a little fragile) that fell into their lap. This year it was Williams, who many draft experts had being selected in the Top 15.
"I think going into the draft today, the idea of Dan Williams being available at our pick was something we hoped for but not something we realistically thought was going to happen,'' Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said
Arizona came into the draft with a few needs: pass rusher, inside linebacker, cornerback depth, offensive line depth, defensive tackle, a quarterback to develop, and perhaps a receiver. At defensive tackle, there was a particular need, as current starter Gabe Watson has dealt with injuries, recent draft pick Alan Branch is turning out to be a better defensive end, and 13-year veteran Bryant Robinson is currently unsigned.
Williams fills that need. However, he will have to work for a starting job, as Whisenhunt's philosophy is to never just hand a rookie a starting job.
He should be a successful player and an impact player for Arizona. But he comes from great defensive systems in which he was very successful (John Chavis and then Monte Kiffin). He has size and strength to hold the line and can even make plays, as he had 70 tackles, including 9.5 for losses. He has shown that he is durable. He is superb against the run. He plays hard and doesn't take plays off.
This offseason has been one of many changes for the Cardinals. This addition should be a valuable one, creating a dominant defensive line of Williams, Darnell Dockett, and Calais Campbell.
I, for one, am excited. The draft has started well for Arizona. I can't wait to see what surprising gifts the Cardinals get as the Football Christmas (aka the NFL Draft) continues tonight and tomorrow.
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