This installment of the Armchair General Manager will delve into the defensive line. Will our new coaching staff pick players from the street, or from the Draft?
Calais Campbell, Frostee Rucker, Ronald Talley, and Everette Thompson are the current DEs on the roster. With the exception of Campbell, none of these players strike fear into any defensive coordinator's heart. The Cards need an edge rusher to pair with Campbell.
Who's on the street to help us out? There are 19 unsigned players available. Two are old friends; Nick Eason, and Kyle Vanden Bosch. Van was actually a high draft pick of the Cardinals a few years ago. He had two consecutive knee injuries and the team gave up on him. He signed in free agency with Tennessee, and last played for the Lions. The AGM thinks he can do better with a draft pick, though. Nick Eason would be a good depth signing.
Some famous names are also available, such as John Abraham and Dwight Freeney. However, a draft pick is probably where the Cards would be wiser to spend their money. Ezekiel Ansah, Bjoern Werner, and Datone Jones are all highly rated picks that might be available to the Cards when it is our turn. The speculation is between DE, or DT.
Nose Tackle/Defensive Tackle.
Nose tackles aren't necessarily supposed to get to the QB. They are expected to stuff the run, though, and occupy a couple of offensive linemen so that the linebackers can blitz their way past them. Dan Williams has been the primary NT to date. After a spotty rookie year, he has come on strongly, especially in the last half of the season last year. The AGM would pick up a Nose Tackle in the later rounds to back up Williams, especially if a good one falls badly.
Ricky Lumpkin, Darnell Dockett, and David Carter are the currently listed defensive tackles on the roster. Dockett played poorly last year. I expect that he will have an All-Pro season this year, though. The others are mere filler.
Can we find help on the street? There are 30 currently available FAs on the street, including old friend Vonnie Holliday. He may retire, though. Richard Seymour isn't a long term solution. The rest are meh.
The Cards should take advantage of the deep 2013 Draft and get a couple of players for the long term. Players like Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei will probably be gone by the seventh pick, but you never know. There are up to 10 players in this draft that can step in and help a team this season. The AGM would get one early, and get one late.
I've had my say. Now it's your turn, ROTB Best and Brightest!