This is an opinion piece.
I am not going to tell you what the Cardinals brass will do in next Thursday's 2010 NFL Draft. I am not one of Ken Whisenhunt's golfing buddies, nor am I chatting up Rod Graves' for personal finance advise.
I cannot unveil their secret draft plans, although I am really looking forward to another "huh?..." moment when they choose some unheard of player from a small school in the middle rounds...and it turns out to be a player like a Tim Hightower or a Greg Toler.
This is simply a list of ten players that Arizona has any chance of snagging at pick No.26 that I would be very excited to acquire , and the explanations why.
1. CJ Spiller, RB Clemson...
Okay, I know Spiller is the least likely player on this list to fall anywhere near this far, but because he is one of the best players in the draft I'd like to dream for a moment. This is not a position of need for the Cardinals, but if he were there for the taking at No.26, only a fool would pass on his playmaking ability.
Although he excelled more as a kick returner at Clemson, Arizona would have the flexibility of inserting Spiller into their punt returner role and remove starting WR Steve Breaston from that duty. And that would be just the beginning.
His presence on the team would open up the playbook without question, making the post-Kurt Warner transition in Arizona a little more bearable. Imagine Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower and CJ Spiller all on one roster.
2. Dan Williams, NT Tennessee
Some mock drafts have Dan as a borderline Top-10 selection, and maybe he would be a lock if it weren't for Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, the top two DT's that could both be gone by pick No.3. Williams is a run stuffer, a hole clogger the Cardinals have coveted since Ken Whisenhunt was hired in the desert. If Williams is available at No.26 he will be in Cardinals red, mark it down.
3. Brandon Graham, DE/LB Michigan
Graham may not be the best pure backer available in the draft, but he is a character player with a constant motor with the smarts to match his athleticism. I would be ecstatic to get a player the caliber of Graham in this slot. He would bring immediate leadership to the middle of the defense that just lost Karlos Dansby, while providing the versatility to play on the line and in space and ease the loss of DE/LB's Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor as well.
4. Sean Weatherspoon, LB Missouri
Arguably the best athlete at the LB position coming out of the draft. It is hard to say how he compares directly to Karlos Dansby as a football player before seeing him in NFL action, but by my estimation he has perhaps even more upside.
5. Rolando McClain, LB Alabama
McClain may fall simply because inside linebackers aren't typically drafted high. He is believed to be the best ILB available and would provide instant stability to the middle of the Cardinals defense, allowing newly acquired Joey Porter to roam the edges.
6. Sergio Kindle, LB Texas
Kindle and Weatherspoon are in a dead heat for the most athletic LB in this year's talent pool. Both have the tools to be elite pro backers.
7. Maurkice Pouncey, C Florida
Not the team's most pressing need, but any time you can pick up the type of talent to help dominate either line of scrimmage you do it. While Lyle Sendlein has been solid if not spectacular, Pouncey is bigger and can provide O-line depth at Guard. Has the potential to anchor an NFL team for a decade or more.
8. Taylor Mays, S USC
People say he was exposed in his senior season for not being able to cover anybody. I don't really care, it hasn't kept Adrian Wilson from going to the Pro Bowl. Besides, our cover safety is Kerry Rhodes. Mays is a rare athlete, an imposing specimen that could allow the defense some flexibility and perhaps be groomed to be Adrian Wilson's eventual replacement. The Cardinals could decide to choose Mays if they go with the BAA—Best Athlete Available.
9. Tim Tebow, QB Florida
It is unlikely the Cardinals take a chance on Tebow this high with their glaring needs on defense in particular, but lets say they do. I don't buy into hyper evaluation when I look at players. When I scout players, some of the most important qualities are all the things Tebow is known for—winning, leadership, smarts, ferocious study and practice habits, and athleticism. He is not necessarily a scrambler but he has the body to take some shots, and can make plays with his feet unlike Matt Leinart. I'd love to have a Tim Tebow to develop on my roster for his swagger and upside. As long as he doesn't try to become something he is not, he can be a solid pro.
10. Terrence Cody, DT Alabama
I am not sold on Cody as a future perennial Pro Bowler, but if the top 3 NT's and the top 4 LB's are all off the board at this point in the draft, Cody makes sense. He is a wide body that will occupy two blockers frequently. Think of what that could do for Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and our swarming backer corps.
Like Spiller, DB's Earl Thomas, Eric Berry and Joe Haden are all virtual locks for the Top 15. DE's Jason Pierre-Paul and Derrick Morgan are promising talents but I don't think it is an area of first need. All of the top O-linemen are tempting but I am hopeful we may have that type of talent already in place with Herman Johnson and Brandon Keith. I do not want Dez Bryant even if he is available, I'd rather have the talented character guys we already have in Breaston and Doucet.
This is my top ten wish list, whats yours?