2011 NFL Draft: Late-Round Steals for the Arizona Cardinals

Jack LondonCorrespondent IMarch 11, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Late-Round Steals for the Arizona Cardinals

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    I love late-round steals, don't you?

    New England Patriots fans do (two words...Tom and Brady).

    But the Cardinals have had their share of late-rounders who have contributed, most notably LaRod Stephens-Howling last season.

    Names such as John Skelton, Greg Toler, Tim Hightower and Steve Breaston also contributed last season.

    You may have heard of them.

    So who are some guys that may help the Cardinals immediately in some of the later rounds this year?

    Well...

Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College

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    Herzlich doesn't exactly have the most skill among linebackers, especially after his surgery this past year.

    But what he does have, maybe more than any other player in the draft, is heart.

    And major guts.

    That doesn't always translate, but if there's one thing we learned from Danny Woodhead this season, it's that it sure can translate.

    Herzlich was once considered on his way to being a first-rounder and now has slipped into the fourth or fifth round because of health issues.

    But I think the Cardinals would be okay with that, as Herzlich is a true ball-hawk and can cover decently. He may be a great inside or outside linebacker.

    What else do you need to know?

Scott Lutrus, OLB/ILB, UConn

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    Lutrus is very similar to Herzlich in that he is a true ball-hawk.

    Experts are worried about his speed at the next level and the fact that he, unlike most seniors, played all four years.

    Would he be able to handle even more hits?

    A tough guy like that, I tend to think yes. The Cardinals could use a spark like Lutrus on defense.

Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon

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    Casey Matthews is the brother of Clay Matthews III.

    You heard of him?

    If I need to go on, I'll mention that Casey is a guy the Cardinals can steal because of, you guessed it, an injury.

    Much like they did with O'Brien Schofield last season, the Cardinals could scoop up Matthews as late as Round 5 and would truly benefit, I believe.

    While he has struggled a bit in coverage and blitzing the QB, according to scouts, he also is used to blitzing. A lot.

    What was our new defensive coordinator's philosophy again?

    Oh yeah...blitzing.

Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama

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    Word is the Cardinals need a QB.

    Hey, any QB in this draft is probably better than Derek Anderson.

    Sorry man.

    But hey, at least he takes it serious, right?

    Anyway, if the Cardinals are looking for a late-rounder who has the NFL build and the smarts (i.e. probably the opposite of Max Hall—sorry Max, love ya, but you're small bro...), it may be McElroy.

    The main drawback? He's played on some really good teams, so losing is a new concept to him.

    Still, if the Cardinals still haven't selected a QB, why not bring in a guy like McElroy who could come cheap?

Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon

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    Jeff really impressed some people with his performance in the BCS championship game.

    Including me.

    While scouts are not sold on him, I really am.

    He's going to go in the later rounds, although his stock is going up fast.

    Even though the Cardinals seem set at receiver if Breaston returns and Early Doucet doesn't get injured (doubtful), Maehl seems like a guy who would be a great special teams player and slot guy that Arizona could get on the cheap.

Andre Smith, TE, Virginia Tech

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    The attractive thing about Smith?

    He's a solid blocker, according to scouts, with some good hands.

    He took a bigger role in the Virginia Tech offense this year too, getting about 20 catches along with a few TDs, which for a college TE isn't bad.

    That's probably about what he would be expected to do in Arizona's offense.

    While I'd rather see the Cardinals take a great tight end, it certainly isn't a huge need, and they did take one last year, so I think it's even a stretch to say they'll take a guy like Smith in Round 4.