CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 03: Matt Roth #53 of the Cleveland Browns sacks quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 3 2010 in Cleveland Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
The Arizona Cardinals have several needs to fill and the quarterback position and the offensive line, which will be addressed in free agency. But the team will likely be looking for some help at outside linebacker. Yes, they are already rather full at the position, but they could use some help, especially if Joey Porter and/or Clark Haggans are let go.
There are two players that know the 3-4 defensive scheme well and play that position and have actually been mentioned in filling this Cardinals need. They are former San Francisco 49ers OLB Manny Lawson and Matt Roth of the Cleveland Browns.
Lawson, 27 years old, is listed in that top 50 list at number 44. PFF rated him as the eighth best 3-4 OLB in the league. His sack numbers are not high, but can pressure the quarterback and do all the other things in the running game and in coverage that is asked of that position.
Matt Roth, 28 years old, is an interesting name. I personally never had heard of him, but he is a player that could garner attention. PFF also believes that the Cardinals are the second most likely team to land him. He has not gotten huge sack numbers (3.5 in 2010) but pressure the QB (40 times and 10 hits in 2010). In 2009 Eric Mangini called him the best player on his defense. (But he was playing for the Cleveland Browns.)
He is also strong in the running game and in coverage -- and can tackle. He had 86 last season. In comparison, the leading OLB tackler was Joey Porter with 50.
Acquiring Roth or Lawson would mean that Porter or Haggans would be gone. It would also be a solid upgrade at the position and a veteran that would contribute with one of the young guys on the other side (Will Davis, O'Brien Schofield and Sam Acho).
What do you think? The more I think about it, I think Roth would be very, very good and Lawson would be more than solid.