Team Needs: Arizona Cardinals

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The first team from the NFC West is up in our look at the draft needs of teams across the league. The Arizona Cardinals hold the seventh pick in the first round and have plenty of holes to fill after losing 11 of their final 12 games last season to post a 5-11 record.

Tackle: The Arizona Cardinals offensive line was nothing short of a disaster last season. Nowhere was this more evident than at the tackle position. When Levi Brown was lost for the season due to a torn triceps before the season even began, the Cardinals were put into a bind at the position and were forced to rely on young, unproven players. The Cardinals still have hope that Nate Potter and Bobby Massie will be solid contributors in the future and the return of Brown to the lineup should help as well but they weren’t a strong unit last year as they allowed a league-high 58 sacks. If Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher happen to be available, the Cardinals could easily jump at the opportunity.

Tight End: The acquisition of Carson Palmer gives some stability to the quarterback position after a revolving door of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer last season. However, a quarterback alone won’t fix everything and Palmer could still use some weapons offensively to work with. Rob Housler and Jeff King are serviceable options but they aren’t threats either. A pass-catching threat from the position could be a good addition to the Cardinals offense. If Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz are available in the second round, the Cardinals could choose to pull the trigger.

Defensive Line: Arizona has a strong defensive front when Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and Dan Williams are all healthy and playing to their ability. Behind them, the Cardinals could use some help. The Cardinals could take a shot at BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah with their first pick. He’s still fairly raw but has a load of talent and could be afforded the time to develop and play on a rotational basis behind the Cardinals starters as both Campbell and Dockett are aging.

Wide Receiver: Along the same lines as the tight end position. Yes, Larry Fitzgerald is still among the best in the league and Andre Roberts has shown he can be effective option as well. Beyond that, however, is still a pretty sizable question mark. Last year’s first round pick, Michael Floyd, had a fairly quiet rookie campaign and LaRon Byrd and Kerry Taylor have limited experience. It’s a position the Cardinals could look to upgrade likely in the middle rounds.

Cornerback: Patrick Peterson has become one of the better cornerbacks in the league but Arizona could use some help behind him. The Cardinals signed Antoine Cason this offseason and has a trio of young corners in Jamell Fleming, Bryan McCann and Jerraud Powers but they could still look to add some insurance to the position.

Running Back: The Cardinals invested a second round pick in Ryan Williams in 2011. They also signed Rashard Mendenhall in free agency. However, both have suffered ACL injuries and struggled to stay healthy. Williams has only played in five games in two seasons and Mendenhall proved inconsistent and was suspended by the Steelers for a violation of team rules. The Cardinals have options at the position but could still look for additional depth.

26 responses to “Team Needs: Arizona Cardinals

  1. I don’t see them choosing a TE in the second (or in any round). Round one is a lock for an OL, round two could be a QB. If not, then DE/OLB at two, unless there is another quality OL available.

    They could (and should) pick up another RB and WR in mid-late rounds.

  2. Tight end? i cant tell you how many times i saw Rob Housler running free for a td only if the qbs could have got him the ball. he has some serious talent to be really good.

  3. You never know in the NFL but this team prob doesn’t have a prayer in the seasons to come being NFC west.

  4. 1) Tackle. Yes, we need one. But, not as badly as you’d think. Massie played much better down the stretch, as did Potter. They need a guard way more than they need a tackle. Snyder and Colledge gave up more sacks than Potter and Massie.

    2) Tight End? Housler IS a weapon. The kid is a 4.5 burner. King is a very good blocker and does pretty good in the passing game. This is not a real need.

    3) Wide receiver. Maybe really late. This is not a pressing need at all.

    4) Cornerback. Late in the draft. Greg Toler is gone, but the young guys are expected to step up and contribute.

    5) Running back. I could see them going for one in the third or fourth.

    What they REALLY need is an OLB to compliment and push Acho and Schofield. That’s a big need. Also, safety is a HUGE need. They cut both their starters and replaced Rhodes with 70 year old Yeremiah Bell. If Vacarro falls to the second I think they jump on him.

  5. In addition to the Offensive tackles, the Cards need RBs, Pass rusher, and to beef up an aging defense.
    With Rhodes and Wilson gone, the previously strong defense has lost much of it’s leadership and Dockett is getting long in the tooth. The Cards gave up their punt returner and talented Special Teams…the “must haves”list created by a new regime exceed what can be recovered through the draft or extended free agency unless they bring back Rhodes and Dansby for the short-term.

  6. I see pass rushing OLB as just as important as OL – and OL could be both Guard and Tackle. Acho could move to ILB is a stud is the pick.

    QB, Safety, RB in that order….next

  7. Safety?? Nevermind that the team blew out their Safety core in the offseason and this draft is (alledgedly) deep with Safety talent.

    Supposed need at WR is a bit of stretch too (re. Floyd comments). I’m anxious to see if BA lets the rookies get on the field and play instead of this “you have to earn your spot” mantra that Whisenhunt was promoting. If you draft talent in the first (and maybe even the 2nd or 3rd) rounds on a team like this, you run those guys out there and let them play.

  8. The ideal draft for my Cards would be to draft OL in the first and second rd then take the BPA in round three. Two OL and a safety would work.

    The past two drafts had some odd choices with Ryan Williams in the second and Jamell Fleming in the third of last year. puzzling picks indeed.

    I remember them passing on JJ Watt and shaking my head in disbelief.

    I’ve got some new found confidence in this new front office though.

  9. The Cards did a really good job this off-season fixing a few areas of need, they can pick the best player available at pick 7 I think. In my mind their biggest needs are an interior 0-lineman, a pass rushing linebacker, and a safety to pair with Johnson. I would wait for a QB till next year when the crop will be better.

  10. Watching the Cards closely last year I had high hopes for them. Kolb had them at 4-0 (mainly because D/ST) and looking poised for playoffs. Then after Kolb and Williams went down and so went their playoff chances.

    With Palmer in and Williams back they look almost solid on O IF they can fix their Oline. I think TE Housler can be HUGE this year.

  11. Carson Palmer provides stability to the QB position? I’m sorry, could you say that in my good ear?

  12. I don’t get on national writers for not knowing exactly what potential guys have on teams like the Cardinals because let’s face it, they’re under the radar due to their record & relevance.

    As a Cards fan, I can tell you that WR is not a need unless it’s late. You say that Michael Floyd had a quiet rookie season……but don’t mention who was throwing him the ball or the fact that Larry Fitz’s production also was well below his average. Put a QB who can throw for over 125 yards per game and then let’s judge him.

    Ditto with Rob Housler. People don’t realize how often he’s been getting open deep down the seam, ala Jimmy Graham. I think Palmer should atleast be able to find him 3-4 times a game for decent yardage.

    Anyways, the need right now is simple: O-line, O-line, and more O-line. The other positions need depth. The O-line needs STARTERS.

    Personally I’d wait until next year too to find the “QB of the future”

  13. They don’t need a WR or a TE. Fitz, Roberts and Floyd are a plenty good threesome and Housler is a decent QB away from being a breakout player. King is a fine changeup TE. OLB and Safety are the two biggest needs on defense. They released Rhodes and Wilson and replaced them with guys who weren’t as good. Bethel is going to be a good FS, but they need a SS to put next to him. Corner isn’t a need at all. Peterson and Cason should be fine there, with Fleming being the nickel guy. They need guards more than tackles with Brown coming back and Massie playing pretty good over the last six games or so. Chance Warmack would be a great choice at number seven. Or, move down a couple spots and pick up another second rounder to get him a few spots later.

  14. Whoever wrote this article is pretty clueless about the Cards. Then again, most of the people on this board are pretty clueless too. You know – dumb comments like “Team needs- a new owner. A new QB. A new fan base. A new city. A new mascot.” (Did this guy just discover the Apollo 11 landing?) “Top priority – to get out of the NFC West. That way they’d at least stand a chance.” Whatever. The scrubby fans just look at the scoreboard and don’t bother figuring out how the Cards lost.

    The Cards lost because of a bad o-line and QBs that couldn’t throw accurately and had a lot of INTs near their own endzone.

    Anyone who follows the Cards knows the TE and WR position is fine. Floyd did much better in the last quarter of the season. What’d you expect from him when the QBs that were throwing had a 10:1 INT to TD ratio? Also, the d-Line has enough depth but they can use a pass rushing OLB.

    It’s not like SF, SEA, and STL are world beaters. The Cards are stronger at WR than any of those teams – and it just happens that SF/SEA/STL’s weakness is their CBs. The Cards D didn’t change much from last year, but you figure Palmer is worth at least an extra 14 pts a game, which is good enough to win 10 games, regardless if they’re in the NFC West or not.

    Anyone who thinks the Cards are just going to roll over like last year is a fool. It will be like 2008 all over again with Palmer at the helm.. assuming the Cards get some good guards to replace the turnstiles Snyder and Colledge.

  15. “Carson Palmer provides stability to the QB position? I’m sorry, could you say that in my good ear?” You obviously don’t have any good ears (or eyes) if you don’t think a 4000 yard passer doesn’t provide stability, at least in the short term.

    A lot of you NFL followers need to analyze games past the box score. The Raiders stunk, but most of you probably couldn’t figure out why. I assure you Palmer wasn’t the reason why the Raiders were cruddy last year.

  16. “They’re under the radar due to their record & relevance.” The Cards are always under the radar, no matter how well they do. They made a lot of analysts look stupid in 2008 and 2009. With the exception of Jaworski, most analysts just look at ESPN clips and boxscores and assume what little they know about the Cards.

    If the Cards can just get 2 good guards, they’re going bludgeon SF/SEA/STL in the air.

  17. 1) Tackle Yes, but no reason to not draft Warmack if Jockel and Fisher are gone. Guard will work just as well since Levi Brown is “back” and we need guards to push off the line of scrimmage and create a running game.
    2) Tight End. Yes. We have a new coach who sees the position very differently. Arians wants a blocking TE in lieu of a fullback. Housler is not the ideal TE for the offense. The current Fox Mock Draft (4.0) has Ertz, Lacy, Warford, Ogletree, Cyprien and Brown falling into the second round. If Ertz or Eifert are there yes the Cardinals could talk them, if not they can wait for Travis Kelce later.
    3) Defensive Line, Yes but not at the raw talent like Ansah. Someone who can start and impact on week one. OLB DE rather than DT.
    4) WR Yes we need to replace Doucet. That’s all, this draft is long in WR and DB so talent will be there in the fourth and fifth round.
    5) CB Yes Cason was not a success in SD. Pro Football Focus ranked him 108 out of 113 CB’s
    5) Running Back. Yes. Deep Draft. We need a healthy RB and a kickoff return player. Ryan Williams is not the star everyone had hoped.

    Safety is a very big need, 1st round and 2nd round and 3rd round all possible.
    Inside Linebacker is big big issue even before the suspension of Daryl Washington. Jasper Brinkley is not a 3 down player. Center is a need. Sendlein is a gritty undersized player that is seen as solid mainly because his dependability, not his success.

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