2011 Senior Bowl: 10 Players Arizona Cardinals Fans Should Watch
It's funny how little attention is given to what basically is college football's all-star game.
But for those of you Cardinals fans reading this, you will want to pay attention this year.
In the draft position they are in, the Cardinals have some huge choices to make between now and April.
And I'm not just talking about the first round either.
So, with the thought in mind of the Cardinals picking earlier in later rounds (such as two, three and four), here are some guys you may want to keep an eye on (Split into five from the South and five from the North rosters):
North: Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma DL
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Beal seems to have the size (6'2", 268) to be a pass rushing end in the NFL.
Or, more importantly for the Cardinals, he could be an outside 3-4 linebacker.
Beal had quite the career as a Sooner, finishing second overall in sacks and tackles for loss.
That's pretty impressive at Oklahoma, a school with quite the tradition.
This season? He had 11 sacks...in seven games.
The Cardinals sure could use someone like that.
And, most importantly, he could be had in round two. So if the Cardinals go elsewhere in round one (QB or CB for example), Beal will be there in round two.
North: Anthony Castanzo, Boston College OT
I really didn't know anything about Castanzo until I started reading about some offensive tackles that will be shown in the Senior Bowl.
Rumor has it that Castanzo is in the mix for the top tackle taken in the draft.
It's also been said he could be taken in round two, as there just is no definite best tackle overall as of right now.
The thing that's attractive about Castanzo?
According to Rob Rang of cbssports.com, Castanzo is a great pass blocker.
However, he lacks the size to be an effective run blocker.
I think Russ Grimm can work with that though, as Castanzo might be a perfect left tackle, and Levi Brown can move back to right tackle.
North: Mark Herzlich, Boston College LB
Everyone who follows college football knows about Herzlich's incredible story and his incredible recovery to get back into football.
So why should Cardinals fans be interested?
Because he's got heart and determination.
That's something that you can't teach.
And while he may not make a great NFL player, I wouldn't count him out.
The Cardinals could use a guy to go alongside Daryl Washington in the future.
They could get him with their third round pick, although their second rounder might be a bit much.
Still, it seems like the kind of guy Whisenhunt would want on his team.
North: Casey Matthews, Oregon LB
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Name sound familiar?
That's because he's the brother of Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.
While Casey didn't have as impressive of a college career, he's got a great family line, and he isn't projected to go as high as his brother Clay did a couple years ago (the first round).
Matthews, like Herzlich, would provide the Cardinals with a future at inside linebacker next to Washington.
And he's a guy the Cardinals could get in round four or five.
North: Colin Kaepernick, Nevada QB
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A lot of people are going to be watching the South's Jake Locker in this game.
I'm more interested in what Kaepernik can do.
Kaepernik, for the first time in a long time, will be forced to go under center for most of his time in the game, as opposed to running the pistol formation.
As well, his throwing ability will be monitored closely by several teams looking for a backup QB or possible future QB.
His draft status could change dramatically based off his performance in this game.
The Cardinals could be interested because he's a guy they could use their fourth or fifth draft pick on, and could come in and compete with Skelton and Hall immediately.
South: Sam Acho, Texas DL
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Acho, like Beal, has the size to make the move from defensive end to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.
Also like Beal, had an impressive senior season, with nine sacks.
But unlike Beal, he can be had at a cheaper price, as many scouts have him going closer to round three than in round two.
That would suit the Cardinals just fine--to address a need in round three, and use their first two picks to address other big needs.
South: Marcus Gilbert, Florida OT
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Gilbert is a guy with good size (6'6", 329 lbs.) that I'm sure that Russ Grimm would like to mold.
And the good news is that he can be had later than the aforementioned Castanzo (probably round four).
And while he might be a bit of a project, he's seen plenty of NFL-caliber defensive players in the SEC.
So he should be more NFL ready than, say, Brandon Keith?
South: Curtis Brown, Texas CB
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Brown is a bit small (5'11"), but he can be had around round three.
And while the Cardinals don't necessarily need another cornerback, it certainly wouldn't hurt.
He didn't have mind-blowing stats, but is a solid cover guy, and, what may attract the Cardinals, played special teams a lot while a Longhorn.
South: D.J. Williams, Arkansas TE
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Okay, okay. I did just say in a previous article not to draft a tight end.
Can I make an exception?
That is, if the price isn't too high.
If Williams can slip to round three, then I would advise the Cardinals to sign him.
Williams, unlike most of the guys in this draft at the tight end position (Kyle Randolph excluded), actually had good college stats, coming up with 54 grabs, which led Arkansas actually.
He should acclamate well to the pros, and the Cardinals could really, really use a quality tight end to open up their offense.
And while his blocking isn't as good as Jim Dray's, he can catch the ball.
South: Von Miller, Texas A&M LB
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Miller, unfortunately, is going to go in round one.
But with a solid performance, could improve his status by one or two picks.
Right now, he's slotted to go somewhere from picks 10-15, but the Cardinals could take him early if they like him, or possibly trade down.
Miller led the Big-12 in sacks this season with 10.5, and would be the outside linebacker the Cardinals have been looking for.