Arizona Cardinals Draft Needs Starting to Shape Up

Jack London@@Londonbridges21Correspondent IMarch 15, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27:  Paris Lenon #53 of the St. Louis Rams during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on December 27, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 31-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Wouldn't it be great to be an NFL owner? 

You could solve all your teams problems. You could sign the players you want. You could spend as much money as you want. You make the decisions.

You also pay the price. 

It's not as easy as you think. Teams choose to save money more often than not (unless you're the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins).

Arizona is clearly one of those teams. So when I heard they had signed Paris Lenon, I said "Who?" But when I found out he was a nine-year veteran who played in the NFC West last year, I finally understood. 

The good news is that he definitely fills a need. It appears he will fill, if only temporarily, a big hole in the linebacking core for the Cardinals

That being said, the Cardinals have also made it fairly clear who they will go after in the draft. By choosing to sign certain positions (TE for example), going and getting a free agent (LB, S, OL), or by not signing a position (OLB), they have left some of their needs fairly obvious. 

1. Rush Linebacker

You have to think that unless a very good player falls to the Cardinals, I'm almost certain they will go with a linebacker. There's a chance they could go for an inside linebacker, such as Sean Weatherspoon, if he should fall. But I imagine they will go for a player that can create havoc in the opponent's backfield. Players such as Ricky Sapp, Brandon Graham, and Everson Griffen are strong possibilities. 

2. Quarterback

This has to be the area of most concern for Arizona. The Cardinals watched David Carr sign with their nemesis San Francisco. They watched that same nemesis trade away Sean Hill, another good possibility for the Birds. Their best bets to hedge their lack of QBs seem to lie with Charlie Whitehurst (who hasn't thrown a single NFL pass) and Mark Bulger, should he be released.

Exciting stuff right? Then again, the Cardinals could go after a guy like Daunte Culpepper. Or they could go after experienced "veterans" like Rex Grossman and Kyle Boller.

Ok. Maybe not.

If a big name QB drops, such as Jimmy Clausen, look for the Cards to gamble in round one. They also could hold off until round two, hoping to get Colt McCoy. Or, they could try to find a gem later, going after Sean Canfield, Dan LeFevour, or Max Hall for example. 

Or they could always draft Tim Tebow. Don't laugh—it's a legit possibility, especially if the Cards can find a true backup to Leinart. The Cardinals are big on "high-character" guys, i.e. Kurt Warner. Tebow is about as close as you can get to Warner in the character area. Now, if he could just throw like him...

3. Cornerback

This appears to be an area of more "concern" for the Cardinals, rather than a need. But I would imagine that they would consider a guy like Kyle Wilson a long time if he were still there at the 26th pick. Joe Haden could be around as well, as his draft stock is reportedly slipping fast. 

4. Inside Linebacker

I think Lenon fills the need temporarily, as I mentioned earlier, so Arizona doesn't need to make a big gamble here. But, if Sean Weatherspoon were around at the time of their first pick, I would hope Arizona would really think about it. 

5. Wide Receiver

This is more a need for depth than anything else. Arizona is thin after Jerheme Urban signed with Kansas City. No big deal, but now it appears the Cardinals should at least go after a WR in the draft in a later round. They would probably take a tall, physical receiver with good hands, as they don't need a returner—just a good "project" receiver I would imagine. Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas come to mind. 

I imagine the Cardinals trying to make a run at a couple more free agents over the next few weeks. But come April, they should be focusing on one of these five positions in their draft. 


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