Getting to Know Your Newest Cardinal: Tim Hightower

 

The fifth round selection of running back, Tim Hightower, left some fans (myself included) scratching their heads, but the Cardinals had something on him that none of us knew about, a money back guarantee.

Offensive Coordinator, Todd Haley said, referencing Hightower's recommendation by running backs coach Maurice Carthon, "Mo guaranteed our money back."

Not sure how exactly they collect on that claim, but it does give some insight into the most questionable pick of the draft. Hightower isn’t the type of running back the Cardinals were supposed to be targeting, but they still seam pretty high on him. Unless you’ve been living under a rock during this week, you’ve heard the countless comparisons of Hightower to Marion Barber III (Cowboys RB). Both backs are about the same size (TH – 6’1 225, MB3 – 6’0 220), ran about the same forty time at their respective pro days (TH – 4.52, MB3 – 4.49) and both backs would prefer to run over a defensive back instead of around them. Now it’s a lofty comparison to project Hightower to have the success that MB3 has enjoyed in his young career (4.5 yard avg, 33 TDs & one Pro Bowl in three seasons), but at this point he should just worry about making the 53.

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Hightower decimated the D-II Football Championship Subdivision his senior season, his third season as a starter for the Richmond Spiders. He totaled over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and averaged nearly six yards per carry. His first two seasons as a starter were productive but for whatever reason he didn’t get the rock near as many times as he got in 2007 (327 carries). His career yards per carry is a very respectable 5.3 and he’s a surprisingly good receiver out of the backfield (29 receptions per season) for a back of his size. His best asset though is his ability to succeed in short yardage and goal line situations. He scored 20 touchdowns his senior season and 34 over the course of his career. Some even view his role in the NFL as not much more than a goal line back or even a full back. 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. Considering the age and workload on Edge, anybody that can take some of the weight off his shoulders is a welcome site to this fan. I’d have liked to see a guy drafted who have a better chance of taking over as the feature back one day but that’s a hard find in the fifth round. Thoughts?

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