Arizona Cardinals rookie outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield tackles Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart in the photo above. Schofield has come into his own the last half of the season. He's recorded five tackles in the last two games coming off the bench.
Considering that he could've missed the entire year due to a devastating knee injury he suffered during Senior Bowl practices last January, Schofield has exceeded many expectations. Before the injury, O'Brien was projected to land as high as the first round because of his pass-rushing abilities. He was used to play with a hand in the grass in college and made the switch to outside linebacker entering the draft. The knee injury severely lowered his stock, but the Cardinals saw potential.
With the turnaround at linebacker this past offseason and the dwindling ages of Clark Haggans and Joey Porter, Schofield provides relief for the future.
After beginning the season on the PUP list, Schofield returned for the eighth week of the season and has played eversince. He may not blow any fans away during the final two games of the season, but it will prepare him for a full season in 2010. He'll be able to take part in all of the Cardinals offseason workouts and OTAs. With a full offseason under his belt, can Schofield provide the pressure the Cardinals defense desperately needs next season?