Well the fire from the NFL draft weekend is still smoldering but today, and possibly the next couple of days, will center around the guys who did not get drafted. The Arizona Cardinals signed thirteen undrafted free agents and four of those guys are on the team right now including Ali Highsmith who was a prominent special teams player before hurting his knee midway through the season. The Cardinals could find some very useful pieces on this scrap heap but they'll have to work quickly because they're bidding against every other team in the league. We'll take a look at some of the notable names as well as update when any signings happen:
Here are some names that might ring a bell and will certainly be on the top of quite a few teams' wish list:
Linebackers: The Cardinals didn't draft an ILB for the second consecutive year but there are some notable names still available and with any luck, these guys might turn out even better than Ali Highsmith did last year. There are couple of outside backers at the bottom who might interest the Cardinals considering that they probably stash them on the practice squad and see how they look in a year once they learn the position.
- Darry Beckwith (6'0, 234), LSU: Beckwith was thought be a third or fourth round pick at worse but his injury history and lack of great size or athleticism must have hurt him more than scouts thought.
- Dannell Ellerbe (6'1 236) Georgia: Teams obviously thought that Ellerbe's breakout season in 2007 was overshadowed by three mediocre seasons. He'll have an uphill battle to make any team but he's got some athleticism and could be a factor on special teams.
Antonio Appleby (6'3 245) Virginia: He's nothing special in terms of production or athletic ability but a 3-4 team will pick him up for depth and his potential as a two down thumper.
- Worrell Williams (5'11, 240) California: Williams is undersized but he's got experience in a 3-4 and the athleticism to be an NFL player.
- Orion Martin (6'3, 262) Virginia Tech: Another former college DE who is probably best served switching to OLB, he's totaled 14 sacks over the past two seasons but ran a disappointing 4.89 at the combine.
Defensive Line: The Cardinals completely ignored the defensive line in the draft despite some concerns about the depth at defensive end and nose tackle. I'd be surprised if a couple of UDFA's aren't some wide bodied defenders.
- Chris Baker (6'2 326) Hampton: Off the field problems forced him to leave Penn State and most likely are the biggest reason that's he field phone calls today instead of packing for an NFL team already. He's got the talent (16.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks) to play in this league but will need soem guidance.
- Mitch King (6'1, 280) Iowa: King played defensive end, tackle and even linebacker while at Iowa and could project at either end or linebacker in the NFL. His tweener status probably kept him from being drafted by he's a versatile defender who carried a mid-round grade from some scouts.
- Everette Pedescleaux (6'5, 305) Northern Iowa: The Cardinals were rumored to have brought Pedescleaux in for a visit before the draft and he'd offer some depth and athleticism at the defensive end spot.
Offensive skill positions: While the Cardinals might be stacked at running back after the selections of Wells and LSH, it wouldn't hurt to add another body to man the practice squad. Any receiver with some return potential might also be intriguing as should any balanced tight end.
- Jeremiah Johnson (5'9 209) Oregon: He was never really a featured runner but he totalled over 2,000 yards at Oregon and averaged over six yards per carry. He's also got experience returning kicks.
- Ian Johnson (5'11, 212) Boise State: Johnson ran surprisingly fast at the combine (4.46) but his long list of injury is concerning.
- Devin Moore (5'9, 191) Wyoming: Moore's size hurts his stock but his athleticism is amazing and he could help a team as a third down back and kick returner.
Kory Sheets (5'11, 208) Purdue: Another smallish back with outstanding speed (4.47) who doubles as a back and return man.
- Marlon Lucky and Arian Foster (5'11, 216 & 6'1, 215): Both Lucky and Foster were starting backs who ran disappointing 40's and failed to establish themselves as NFL material but seven rounds of waiting might just be the motivation that they needed.
- Quan Cosby (5'9, 196) Texas: He's small and old for an NFL rookie (26) but he is faster than he timed (4.57) and was a successful punt and kick returner at Texas.
- Jeremy Gilchrist (5'9 176) Hampton: Gilchrist is tiny and was neutralized by double teams after totaling over a 1,000 yards in 2007 but his six punt return touchdowns in the past two years is hard to ignore.
- Ryan Purvis (6'3, 254) Boston College: A physically limited tight end whose senior production drastically dropped off with Matt Ryan gone, but he's physical, willing blocker who had over 50 reception in 2007.
- Jared Bronson (6'4, 254) Central Washington: Bronson's a decent in-line blocker who has also shown the ability to stretch the field (17.9 yards per catch in 2008).
There are countless other guys we could mention but that's a small taste. Who else would you like to see the Cardinals take a look at? What positions still need the most help?