5-1-11: Bird Droppings - Draft Recap

TEMPE, AZ: (2L-R) Head coach Ken Whisenhunt, general manager Rod Graves and President Michael Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals listen to first round draft pick Patrick Peterson (not pictured) speak during a press conference to introduce him at the team's training center auditorium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Draft is over, and the Cardinals went through the entire thing drafting the best available player instead of reaching for need when someone who was rated higher on their board was still around. Time to look at some links on the new Cardinals, along with a couple on Mark Herzlich, the Linebacker from Boston College who I think the Cardinals should take a good look at once they can sign Undrafted Free Agents.

Arizona Cardinals pleased with NFL draft selections
It seemed like every time the Cardinals were on the clock Saturday during the final day of the draft, the NFL Network's live broadcast went to commercial. That was OK with the Cardinals, though. After three days' worth of picks - even if they weren't all well received by outside critics - the Cardinals felt their overall draft was better than they could have advertised themselves.

Arizona Cardinals' draft class lacks offensive linemen
Only two of the Cardinals starting five offensive linemen are under contract for 2011, yet the team passed on selecting one in the draft for the second consecutive season. The Cardinals apparently are viewing those positions like they are quarterback: The solutions will come in free agency and possibly via trade.

2011 NFL Draft: Mark Herzlich, Boston College Eagles LB and cancer survivor, goes undrafted - ESPN Boston
Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who returned to the field in 2010 after missing 2009 while recovering from cancer, remained upbeat about his NFL prospects despite going undrafted.

Cards, QBs and three top-ranked players - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Once the Arizona Cardinals selected LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson fifth overall in the 2011 NFL draft, there was less chance, in my view, of the team selecting a quarterback this year. My thinking: If the team could not get a franchise quarterback, why invest a choice in a player unlikely to alter the depth chart in a meaningful way?

NFC West draft analysis - NFC West Blog - ESPN
With Sam Bradford in place, the St. Louis Rams could sit back during the 2011 NFL draft and watch at least a dozen teams sweat over the available quarterbacks. Counter to conventional wisdom, the rest of the division followed suit -- despite obvious, immediate and critical needs at the position.

Final Day No Shocker
Acho addresses pass rush as Cards keep to draft board

Ryan Williams 15th-Ranked Player On Cardinals Board, Beanie Wells 'Excited' - SB Nation Arizona
When the Arizona Cardinals selected running back Ryan Williams with the 38th pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, many people were surprised. The Cardinals defense was seen by most to be a bigger priority and there were still two available edge rushers that most experts had going in the first round of the draft, Brooks Reed and Da'Qaun Bowers. The Cardinals then drafted their third skill player of the draft in the third round with tight end RobHousler at 69. Coach Ken Whisenhunt explained the picks to the media late in the day on Friday.

Word From the Birds Blog - Cards finally nab pass rusher in Acho
The Cardinals begin the final day of the draft by getting a pass rusher they needed in Texas linebacker Sam Acho in the fourth round. At 6-foot-1 and 260 pounds, Acho is going to have a transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4, but as a senior, he had nine sacks, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He was also a three-time all-academic selection in the Big 12. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he is a ‘tweener, not quite an OLB but not quite a DE. But with O’Brien Schofield and Will Davis already around (along with veterans Clark Haggans and Joey Porter for now), Acho could be a pass rusher only at first until he is ready for something bigger.

Word From the Birds Blog - Fifth round goes to a fullback
The Cards went with UConn fullback Anthony Sherman in the fifth round. It’s a position they’ve been looking for since losing Terrelle Smith after the Super Bowl season. He’s considered a good blocker, even in pass protection, and a good special-teams player (important given the probable loss of Jason Wright). Sherman is 5-10 and 240. His Pro Football Weekly summary (which listed him as a fourth- or fifth-round pick): "A hardworking, assignment-sound fullback with starting-caliber toughness, physicality and blocking ability." He’s also a guy who can catch passes.

Word From the Birds Blog - First sixth-round pick is LB Sturdivant
The Cardinals used the first of two sixth-round draft picks on inside linebacker Quan Sturdivant from North Carolina. Sturdivant, 6-foot-1 and 241 pounds, was part of the Tar Heel team ravaged from suspensions, and he was one of the ones investigated for improper dealings with agents (he was cleared ). He also battled a hamstring injury for five weeks. But in eight games he had 61 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss. In his career, he had 27.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries, and looks like a good pickup considering he was thought of as a third- or fourth-round pick and some even believed he could go in the second round. With Gerald Hayes unlikely to return next year, the Cards needed depth on the inside behind Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington.

Word From the Birds Blog - Cards go DE with other sixth-rounder
With their second sixth-round pick, the Cards took UCLA defensive end David Carter (6-4, 297) who had 3.5 sacks last season. He played nose tackle last season for the Bruins, but he will be a developmental defensive end in the 3-4 for the Cards. He went 10 picks after brother Chris, who was taken by the Steelers, setting off a huge celebration at the Carter household.

Word From the Birds Blog - Draft aftermath and the seventh-rounder
So the Cards finish up not with Mr. Irrelevant but close (five choices came after the Cardinals’ final pick) in San Diego State wide receiver DeMarco Sampson. Sampson is a big guy (6-foot-2, 204), with some speed (Whisenhunt said he ran a 4.41 this offseason) and a chance to add to the position that has some uncertainty in terms of contracts. Otherwise, here are some other last thoughts after the last day:

Acho Conference Call
Cardinals 4th round draft pick Sam Acho participates in a conference call with the Arizona media shortly after being selected in the 4th round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Sherman Conference Call
Cardinals 5th round draft pick Anthony Sherman participates in a conference call with the Arizona media shortly after being selected with the 136th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Whisenhunt and Graves on 4th and 5th Rounders
Video Gallery - azcardinals.com

Sturdivant Conference Call
Cardinals 6th round draft pick Quan Sturdivant participates in a conference call with the Arizona media shortly after being selected with the 171st pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Carter Conference Call
Cardinals 6th round draft pick David Carter meets the Arizona media in a conference call shortly after being selected with the 184th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Whisenhunt and Graves Talk 6th Round Picks
Video Gallery - azcardinals.com

Whisenhunt and Graves Wrap up 2011 Draft
Video Gallery - azcardinals.com

Arizona Cardinals Draft Grades From A To Inc. - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
The 2011 NFL Draft is officially over and it's well past the time when pass judgement on all the decisions made and hand out draft grades. The Arizona Cardinals walked away with eight picks over the three day draft extravaganza. From 5th overall Patrick Peterson to the guy taken just five spots before Mr. Irrelevant, DeMarco Sampson. You can read the fine grades earned by the Cardinals from expert Mel Kiper, and surly everyone else and their brother will be publishing their draft grades as well, but we guarantee none will be more accurate than the grades handed out by our staff here today.

In Acho, Cardinals seek help at linebacker - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals aren't chasing quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL draft. They selected someone Saturday to do that for them on the field. Sam Acho, a defensive end/outside linebacker from Texas, comes to the Cardinals as the 103rd player overall choice. Analysts have lauded Acho as a high-effort, high-character prospect lacking some of the desired measurables, including height.

Cards' Sam Acho makes right impression - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A few things to know about Sam Acho, the outside linebacker Arizona selected with the sixth pick of the fourth round, No. 103 overall:

Arizona Cardinals select Texas' Sam Acho
Finding a pass rusher is an off-season priority, but the Arizona Cardinals waited until the last day of the draft. They selected Sam Acho of Texas, who played defensive end in college but will play outside linebacker as a pro.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - And day 3 begins
Finding a pass rusher is an off-season priority, but the Cardinals waited until the last day of the draft. They selected Sam Acho of Texas, who played defensive end in college but will play outside linebacker.

Intangibles seem to mark Cardinals' picks - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals' ground game took a hit in 2010 when fullback Nehemiah Broughton suffered a torn anterior-cruciate ligament during the exhibition season. The team gave itself a prospect at the position Saturday by selecting Connecticut's Anthony Sherman in the fifth round. The team has addressed needs in the last three rounds -- tight end Rob Housler in the third, outside linebacker Sam Acho in the fourth, Sherman in the fifth -- after selecting a cornerback and running back with their first two picks.

Arizona Cardinals draft Connecticut fullback Anthony Sherman
The Arizona Cardinals picked a projected role player in the fifth round of the NFL draft, selecting Connecticut fullback Anthony Sherman.

Your thoughts, please: QB draft strategies - NFC West Blog - ESPN
We're deep enough into the 2011 NFL draft to know the San Francisco 49ers will emerge with the only meaningful quarterback addition.

Cardinals continue to remake backfield | ProFootballTalk
The Cardinals backfield is going to lack rather different next year. After taking Ryan Williams high in the second round, Arizona drafted UConn fullback Anthony Sherman in the fifth round. He was the top-ranked fullback in the class. Ken Whisenhunt is clearly not happy with the production he got in the running game last year.

Arizona Cardinals draft North Carolina linebacker Quan Sturdivant
The Arizona Cardinals found an inside linebacker in the sixth round, selecting Quan Sturdivant, a 6-1, 241-pounder from North Carolina.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Drafting a lead blocker
The Cardinals again addressed their running back by taking someone who doesn't play the offensive line. Fullback Anthony Sherman of Connecticut is the fifth round pick, the 136th selection overall.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Cardinals find inside linebacker in 6th round
The Cardinals found an inside linebacker in the sixth round, selecting Quan Sturdivant, a 6-1, 241-pounder from North Carolina.

2011 NFL Draft Grades: NFC West, Who Came Out Best? - SB Nation Arizona
Ah, the NFC West. You've been the laughingstock of the NFL for a few years now, and last season a 7-9 team won the division. Did the 2011 NFL Draft do anything to improve these mediocre squads? Lets break it down.

High marks for Cardinals' sixth-round LB - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals need young depth at inside linebacker after relying heavily on veteran Gerald Hayes and Paris Lenon in recent years. Sixth-round choice Quan Sturdivant could fill the void.

Arizona Cardinals draft UCLA's David Carter in 6th round
The Arizona Cardinals selected UCLA defensive tackle David Carter in the sixth round.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - The developmental stages
The Cardinals selected UCLA defensive tackle David Carter in the sixth round. Carter is listed as a college tackle but he'll be an end in the NFL. . He's 6-4, 292, so he appears to be the size of an end, not a nose tackle. Carter started only one season at UCLA so it doesn't seem a stretch to classify him as a developmental player.

Cardinals draft WR DeMarco Sampson with final pick
The Arizona Cardinals used their final pick in the NFL draft to select San Diego State wide receiver DeMarco Sampson.

Mark Herzlich, Cancer Survivor, Has Inspirational NFL Draft Story - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
The road to the 2011 NFL Draft has been bumpy for Mark Herzlich but his back-story may be the best one of the week. In 2008, Herzlich was projected as a top-10 pick, but his career and life were suddenly put on hold as he was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors discovered a tumor in his left leg and he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. Though his chances for survival were high, his chances of ever playing football again were slim-to-none.

Undrafted Free Agents Face Uncertain Future Due To NFL Lockout - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
In most years, going undrafted can be a blessing in disguise for fringe players. It allows those passed over in the seven round of the NFL Draft to pick their landing spot and find a team that best fits them, maximizing the chances of making an NFL roster. But this year, undrafted free agents will be stuck in limbo, unable to sign with a team until whenever the NFL lockout is lifted. Instead of the mad rush to scoop up free agents at the conclusion of the 2011 NFL Draft, players and teams will be stuck in a holding pattern as the litigation surrounding the lockout plays out. And the worst part for those passed over is the uncertainty, which will only get worse as the lockout rolls on.

ASU defensive lineman Lawrence Guy drafted by Packers
The Green Bay Packers have completed their draft, taking Arizona State defensive lineman Lawrence Guy in the seventh round. At 6-5 and 300 pounds, Guy started 31 of 35 games over three seasons for the Sun Devils. He had eight sacks and 23 tackles for loss. Guy could play defensive end in the Packers' 3-4 scheme. Guy went into the draft after his junior season, saying he had accomplished all his goals in college.

A handy post-draft rundown of teams needing quarterbacks | ProFootballTalk
Supply and demand drove the price of quarterbacks too high in this draft. That doesn’t mean the demand has satisfied.

2011 NFL Draft Grades: Winners And Losers - SBNation.com
We saw 32 teams select 254 players in the 2011 NFL draft. Now it's time to grade those picks.

2011 NFL Draft winners - Mocking The Draft
There is no doubt the lockout had a sizable impact on the 2011 NFL Draft. It forced a lot of teams to draft needs instead of best player available. As such, some teams got to sit back and pick off top players.

2011 NFL Draft losers - Mocking The Draft
Clearly it's not fair to immediately dismiss the class moments after the 2011 NFL Draft ended. Some of the choices for losing drafts could turn out to be winning draft. But for now, they sure don't look good.

10 things we learned from the 2011 NFL draft - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Comprehensive National Football League news, scores, standings, fantasy games, rumors, and more

Ranking the best undrafted players available: Offense | National Football Post
A breakdown of the top five available players at each position following the 2011 NFL draft.

Ranking the best undrafted players available: Defense | National Football Post
A breakdown of the top five available players at each position following the 2011 NFL draft.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh met with Alex Smith on Friday, says he 'is a 49er' - ESPN
It sure seems Alex Smith is all but the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback again.

Baltimore Ravens' Rays Lewis helps 10-year-old La'Shaun Armstrong after mother's suicide - ESPN
NFL linebacker Ray Lewis and former cornerback Reggie Howard are helping a 10-year-old New York boy whose mother drowned herself and three children by driving a van into the Hudson River.

Last-day value picks on offense indicate depth of 2011 draft class - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
With the fourth through seventh rounds upcoming, it's time to take a look at the best players left on the board for whatever reason. This is less a "value list" (which is why you see Adam Froman instead of Ricky Stanzi) and more a list of the guys whose tape I liked the most among the remaining players. Here are the top 10 players left in offense; we'll have a list of defenders presently.

Last-day value picks on defense indicate depth of 2011 draft class - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
With the fourth through seventh rounds upcoming, it's time to take a look at the best players left on the board for whatever reason. This is less a "value list" and more a list of the guys whose tape I liked the most among the remaining players. Here are the top 10 players left on defense

League still pushes 18-and-2 format | ProFootballTalk
At a time when the NFL has been plunged into a storming sea of chaos, the league is still focused on eventually expanding the regular season from 16 to 18 games. We’d prefer that the league instead worry for now about keeping the ship from sinking.

Herzlich thanks fans for support after going undrafted | ProFootballTalk
You aren’t supposed to root as a member of the media, but Florio and I were rooting like many others for former Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich to get drafted at the end of Saturday’s seventh round.

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