NFL Draft 2012: Is Courtney Upshaw A Possibility For The Arizona Cardinals?

Now that we have moved into this new draft series, we will be looking at players that not only could be potentially drafted by the Cardinals with the 13th pick, but also players that would fill a need on their team. Yesterday, we examined Melvin Ingram, a studly defensive end coming out of South Carolina. According to the poll results, 66% of you don't mind that he doesn't have too much coverage experience. His pass rushing talents cannot be overlooked.

Today, we look at a player that has much higher credentials than Ingram did in his college days. Courtney Upshaw recently won the BCS National Championship game with the Alabama Crimson Tide. In that game, he was crowned as the defensive MVP.

So if Upshaw is still on the board by the time the Cards are set to make their pick, should he be the guy they select? Let's find out after the jump.

Quick plug really quick... If you haven't visited Mocking the Draft yet, I highly recommend it. They have great draft coverage, along with some really cool mocks that you can participate in.

Anyhow, they give a nice breakdown of Courtney Upshaw's strengths and weaknesses over on their site. They state that his pursuit is, "relentless" as a pass rusher and that he has a plethora of techniques that he uses to get to the opposing quarterback. He also holds up well both as a linebacker (which was his true position in 'Bama's 3-4 defense) and as a defensive end in run support.

But like Ingram, there are some concerns with how he will fare in coverage. While playing for Nick Saban, Upshaw was predominantly asked to rush the passer. Dropping into coverage was not something he normally was tasked with. Here is Dan Kadar's take on his coverage abilities:

He doesn't have loose hips and could struggle in pass coverage, especially in man situations. Because of that, there are some questions about how well Upshaw moves laterally, which will hamper him in the NFL if he's asked to cover tight ends or running backs coming out of the back field.

Again, this is some unpleasant information to think about when trying to assess Upshaw's NFL future. Many feel that he may just be too heavy to play as an OLB in an NFL 3-4 scheme. He may be better suited as a defensive end in the long run.

As far as how he played at Alabama, sports-reference.com states that he had 18 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and one interception in his senior season.

Just for fun, here is a great highlight tape of Upshaw's game against the LSU Tigers in the BCS Championship game:

After reading all of this, what are your thoughts on Upshaw coming to the Cards? Should the team consider drafting him despite his porous coverage play? Is that something he will be able to improve upon?

Voice your opinion in the comments section below and vote in the poll.

We invite you to follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and like us on Facebook. Also, follow me on Twitter at @TylerNickelASU.

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