So, in my Defensive Front 7 Comparison, the leading vote parameter is the fifth. "Yes, but only slightly as the backers aren't the athletes needed." The current duo of Joey Porter and Clark Haggans did not wow last year. They are also old men in NFL standards. However, both are veterans with plenty pf game experience. Porter is three sacks away from the century mark. Haggans is the consummate professional and always arrives to play. Last year the D was on the field too often. Mistakes were made in substitutions. Regardless, being that both starting OLBs are grizzled vets, Arizona Cardinals fans need to look to the future. Hit the jump to see the players the Cards are currently placing their expectations on.
Sam Acho: This rookie has again drawn opposing viewpoints. GraydonS says, "His biggest problem is he's built more like a 4-3 DE. I think an off season of losing weight will help him a lot next year." forget asks, "What's with all the hype surrounding Acho? He's one of the stiffest players I've ever seen, he's like a robot out there!"
But others have his proverbial back: Kristen87 says, "He's still got skillz. Give him time to develop." And tw3kr says, "Nah. Keep the mass. It’ll help him at the line of scrimmage. Did you see the numbers from his workouts? He’s plenty athletic."
That brings up interesting points. Athleticism and weight. Acho is heir apparent to Haggans. When I compared the Cards to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Haggans counterpart is LaMarr Woodley, who is 6'2, and 265#. Haggans is 2 inches taller and 22# lighter. What about Acho? He is 6'3" and 257#. Coming out of college he was listed at 262#. This is much more comparable to Woodley. And this should help Acho hold up against the run, although his 23 reps on the bench concerned some teams. Now lets look at some numbers. Acho combined for 19 sacks and 31 tackles for loss his last two seasons at the University of Texas. He also put up a sack and 2 tackles for loss in the Senior Bowl.
Now lets look at the other bookend.
O'Brien Schofeld: This second year player wowed fans with his drive and determination in coming back from a supposed season ending knee injury. Schofield also has opposing viewpoints. Jesseb says, "I still have questions about Schofield."
And then came the words from those sold on Schofield as a player. Zoopaloop says, "Between Washingtons maturation, acquiring Bradley and younger guys like Obie and Acho, I feel like this group can grow into a very good group that can handle the 3-4." Seth Pollack offers this, "It will be very interesting to see how both Acho and Schofield are used this season and moving forward to provide more pressure from edges. Both are ridiculous athletes and obviously younger and quicker than Porter and Haggans." And hadrarius chimes in with this assessment, "O’Brien Schofield looks like he will be a good fit."
So, how good a fit would he be? The 2nd year player would replace Joey Porter. His counterpart on the Steelers D would be James Harrison who is listed at 6' and 242#. Schofield is listed at 6'3", 242#. His football numbers? He had 17 sacks and 33 tackles for loss his last two season at the University of Wisconsin. Against players like Bryan Bulaga of the Green Bay Packers.
What do you think? Are Acho and Schofield the OLB bookends of the Cards future? Should the Cards dip into the OLB market in the 2012 draft?