The Cardinals found themselves in a rare position in 2008, drafting outside the top 15 for the first time since 1995. Sitting at 16 there were no glaring holes that had to be addressed in order for the draft to be considered successful. By no means is an 8-8 team without needs but for once the Cardinals were in a position to take a ‘best player available’ strategy. The front office and coaching staff made ‘football character’ the biggest need heading into last weekend. They targeted guys that had something to prove or seemed truly energized about playing at a professional level. The coaching staff does believe they’ve amassed a group of guys who will play with a ‘chip on their shoulder’ and play with passion. Each guy seems to have a different chip that they’re trying to brush off.
First round pick, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, dominated his competition but the knock is that he’s from D-II, Tennessee State. Some have questioned whether he’ll struggle against bigger, faster receivers at the pro level. Third round pick, Early Doucet, fell down draft boards after sub-par 40 times. Doucet though points to his production on the field instead of performance in track shoes:
"I’m not a 4.3 guy and I never will be. But I’m a football player so that’s all that really matters."
Even fifth round running back, Tim Hightower, feels slighted by not only his perceived lack of speed but also by being overlooked on draft day and by major colleges after high school.
"It was always the thing; I had a dream of playing professional football and that’s something I set my mind to," Hightower said.
Overall the Cards feel they got motivated talent early and often this weekend and hope that it will reap dividends this coming season. Who knows if the young guys are as productive as they hope to be the Cards could pick outside the top 15 two years in a row for the first time since 1984-85.