When the Arizona Cardinals cut their roster down to 53 players, head coach Ken Whisenhunt said that there could still be some 'tweaking' once the dust settled from other team's cuts and it didn't take long for him to take action. The Red Birds added veteran offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges, a former Cardinal who played here in 2004 and 2005. Bridges, a 29 year old former sixth round pick, has also played for the Eagles (who drafted him), Panthers and spent the summer and past couple of months with the Redskins. Over the past three seasons he started 28 games over the past three seasons at both guard and tackle (although not at the same time obviously). He was signed by the Redskins and expected to compete for the starting right tackle job but when he lost the job, he also lost a roster spot. Bridges gives the Cardinals much improved depth at offensive tackle and some flexibility should either Mike Gandy or Levi Brown suffer some type of injury. To make room for Bridges the Cardinals cut Elton Brown.
That wasn't the only move the Cardinals made yesterday though because they also filled out their eight man practice squad, finally. Almost immediately they added four players of their own, Ed Gant (WR), Trevor Canfield (G/C) and Alex Field (DE) and Keilen Dykes (DT/DE) and the team finally announced the remaining four players yesterday, OLB/DE Chris Harrington (cut by the Bengals), FB Fui Vakapuna (cut by the Bengals), ILB Lee Robinson (cut by the Broncos) and CB Rashad Barksdale (cut by the Jets). We should all be familiar with Chris Harrington as he was the Cardinals sixth round pick in 2008 and he quickly became an ROTB favorite (here and here). We'll have more on each of the new faces after the jump.....
Fui Vakapuna - Vakapuna was a seventh round pick of the Bengals this season after coming out of BYU where he split time as a power running back and a lead blocking fullback. By all accounts the Bengals were absolutely enamored with Vakapuna leading up to the draft and it was a surprise to some when he was cut. The 5-11, 250 pound fullback is considered to be a powerful lead blocker and an adequate pass catcher out of the backfield. He also has the athleticism to contribute on special teams.
Lee Robinson - Robinson is an undrafted rookie who spent the entire training camp and preseason with the Broncos, which means that he did play in the preseason finale against the Cards (2 tackles). The official site is listing Robinson as an inside linebacker and the Broncos did use him on the inside but most scouts projected him as a outside pass rush linebacker coming out of the draft so he has some versatility. He has good size (6-3, 245) and was a very productive four year starter at Alcorn State. Here is one very complimentary video discussing Robinson's potential.
Rashad Barksdale - Barksdale, a former 6th round pick of the Eagles in 2007, has good size (6-0, 208) and has actually appeared in six NFL games for the Chiefs back in 2007. In the past two seasons he's been a member of the Eagles, Chiefs, Giants and most recently the Jets, although his stop in Kansas City was his only time spent on the 53 man roster.
Now that the practice squad is finalized we can see that they've got two defensive lineman and two linebackers comprising half of the eight man squad. It's pretty clear where the team sees themselves lacking depth. I'm still a bit surprised that the Cards would carry another wide receiver on their practice squad even though they already have seven on the active roster but these things can still be tweaked. Thoughts?