We've covered the Arizona Cardinals rookies from the first four rounds (DRC, CC, Doucet, Kenny), but it's time to look at quite possibly the most popular 5th round rookie in history, Tim Hightower.
Tim Hightower is off to a fast start considering that he's being limited to short yardage and goal line situations. He's also getting some snaps in third down situations which is a big step considering most rookies aren't trusted with protecting a quarterback. He's excelled in short yardage situations where he leads the NFL in 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 carries and he's also converted every single one of those carries into first downs. He also leads the team in rushing touchdowns (5) and leads all Cardinals backs with 14 receptions for 121 yards. Time will tell when or if Tim is ready to take the starting job from Edgerrin James but for now his play would suggest, if not demand, that he gets more playing time.
It's impossible not to be encouraged ecstatic about Tim Hightower's first six games and he's already far exceeded the production and potential that I thought he possessed. Here's what I thought about our fifth round pick a couple days after the draft:
It’ll likely to a couple years before we have any idea what Hightower’s future role will be for the Cardinals. I’d imagine he’ll have to contribute on some special teams units to get on the field this season although he’ll probably get at least a look in some short yardage situations at some point.
It's pretty obvious how far off I was at the time, but I'm certainly glad that I was wrong. He won't be mentioned among other early running back picks like Darren McFadden, Matt Forte, Jonathan Stewart or even Felix Jones but he'll get his opportunity to shine by season's end. Even if Edge makes it through the entire season healthy, it would be pretty surprising if Hightower isn't splitting carries at least 50/50. Thoughts? Did anyone think that he could do this when they drafted him? What are your expectations for Tim Hightower for the remainder of the season?