After dealing starting cornerback Bryant McFadden back to the Steelers on the third day of the draft, the Arizona Cardinals found themselves extremely thin at defensive back outside of emerging star Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The sixth round came, and 201 picks later, cornerback Jorrick Calvin's dream of playing in the NFL was finally achieved - he was a Cardinal.
But Calvin wasn't drafted to fulfill his dream, he was brought in to add depth on defense, and also compete for starting time one day.
Calvin missed his entire 2009 college season when he was declared academically ineligible. He had experienced deaths in his family at the time and had to attend. He stated that he "missed an assignment and couldn't make that assignment up", and that "It was all my fault.". It was an unfortunate situation that caused Calvin's draft stock to certainly slip.In 2008 he started and racked up 76 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 9 passes defensed. Sports Illustrated scouted Calvin with the following report:
Luckily the Cardinals aren't set with their roster and rookies are given every chance to earn playing time under head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Calvin is very raw, but does have the tools so soak up the knowledge he'll learn under defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson. But how likely is Calvin to work up the totem pole at defensive back?
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has established himself as the clear - and dominant - starter, but beyond him it's anyone's game. Greg Toler and Michael Adams have been competing for starting time, and Toler appears to have wrestled that position from Adams, who briefly held it at the start of offseason mini camps. Trumaine McBride has started some games in the past but will primary serve as depth at corner. One thing that Calvin already has in common with Toler and DRC is the raw ability that they entered the league with. It's likely that Calvin will challenge McBride as the fourth string corner in camp and the 2010 season. Calvin's special teams strengths and ability to return kicks will also play a large part in him earning a roster spot.
Although if history serves it's part, Calvin has the odds stacked against him to make a splash in the NFL. Since 1995, there have been only four defensive backs taken the 6th round or later that have made a Pro Bowl appearance. They are Al Harris(2), Hanik Milligan(1), Antoine Bethea(1), Cortland Finnegan(1), and Marlon McCree(1). Since that time, the Cardinals have only drafted four defensive backs in the 6th or 7th round - Renaldo Hill('01), Coby Rhinehart('99), Anthony Bridges('95), and Pat Tillman('98).
The position battles at quarterback, offensive line, and linebacker will all be key to watch for during camp, but none will be as compelling as the battle at cornerback. If Calvin develops into a capable defensive back, that's three corners in three years that the front office has nailed in the draft. It's still early in the offseason, but Jorrick Calvin has a chance to make a name for himself his rookie season. What are your thoughts on Calvin and do you believe he can be productive his first season in the league?