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4-30-11: Bird Droppings - Draft Updates, Lockout Back On

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After some surprising picks by the Cardinals in day two, it is time to see how they address their remaining needs such as pass rushers during day three. Here are some links to start off this morning.

NFL draft: Arizona Cardinals take Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams in second round
The Cardinals pulled a shocker in the second round, passing on pass rushers, to select Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams.

Arizona Cardinals draft FAU tight end Rob Housler in third round
The Arizona Cardinals looked toward tight end with their No. 69 overall selection, grabbing Florida Atlantic tight end Rob Housler.

For Williams, A Promise Kept
Cards tell running back ahead of time he was going to be second-round pick

An Air Of Confidence
No question, Peterson believes in himself

No Quarterback Temptation
Draft Notes: Cards pass on signal-callers; Tight end to stretch the field

Cardinals target value in NFL Draft -
The Arizona Cardinals' biggest needs were quarterback and linebacker heading into the draft. So, it came as a shock when they selected running back Ryan Williams with their second round pick and tight end Rob Housler with their third round pick.

Arizona Cardinals may have Patrick Peterson join LaRod Stephens-Howling on kick return duties
The Cardinals already have a dynamic kickoff returner in LaRod Stephens-Howling, but they added another dandy Thursday in the first round of the NFL draft in cornerback Patrick Peterson. Imagine the possibilities if both players were returning kicks at the same time? Cardinals special teams coach Kevin Spencer already has.

Why the Cardinals selected a running back - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams' addition to the Arizona Cardinals' backfield stands out as one of the biggest surprises through three rounds of the 2011 NFL draft. Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling already gave Arizona a three-man rotation. Wells' status as a recent first-round selection made the choice seem even less likely -- even though Wells hasn't broken out yet. What gives? blogs - Kent Somers - Judging a draft
There are pivotal games in every season and pivotal picks in every draft. Running back Ryan Williams could be the selection by which the Cardinals 2011 draft is judged.. Running back wasn't among the team's needs, yet the Cardinals bypassed outside linebackers, defensive ends, offensive linemen, quarterbacks, etc., to take Williams in the second round, 38th overall.

Patrick Peterson takes interesting route to Arizona Cardinals
Shandra Johnson was 16 when she became pregnant with the person the Cardinals made their first-round draft pick on Thursday. The story in between these milestones is a fascinating one and suggests cornerback Patrick Peterson's transition to the NFL will be a smooth and successful one.

Arizona Cardinals fulfill promise to running back Ryan Williams
Turns out not all promises whispered in the weeks leading up to the draft are lies. When Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams visited Arizona, someone with the team promised him the club would take him in the second round.

Twitterverse reacts to Cardinals taking Ryan Williams -
The Cardinals selecting running back Ryan Williams with their second round pick was a surprise to pretty much everyone. It was believed Arizona would look to grab a defender, and there were a few highly-regarded lineman and linebackers available. That said, surprise gave way to analysis, and the general consensus is things are looking up for the Cardinals at the running back position. The same, however, isn't being said for Beanie Wells.

Williams Conference Call
Cardinals 2nd round draft pick Ryan Williams meets the Arizona media in a conference call shortly after being selected with the 38th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Housler Conference Call
Cardinals 3rd round draft pick Rob Housler meets the Arizona media in a conference call shortly after being selected with the 69th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Draft Day Two Recap
Video Gallery -

Peterson Introductory Press Conference
Video Gallery -

Chicago Cubs hit three home runs, beat Arizona Diamondbacks
Three mistakes. That's it. Just three. That's really all Diamondbacks starter Armando Galarraga made Friday night in an otherwise clean performance at Chase Field. But the Cubs took those three mistakes for home runs -- two by Alfonso Soriano -- as the Diamondbacks lost 4-2 in front of 29,431, most of whom were wearing Cubs blue and went home happy. The Diamondbacks are now 3-2 midway through its 10-game homestead. blogs - Dan Bickley - Cardinals baffle experts with Ryan Williams pick
The Cardinals received wonderful grades for their first-round selection of cornerback Patrick Peterson, considered by many to be the best player in the NFL draft. Their second-round selection will lower their GPA dramatically. blogs - Kent Somers - Ryan Williams thrilled to be a Cardinal
Ryan Williams might have been the only person outside the Cardinals draft room who was not surprised when the team took him in the second round with the 38th overall pick. "When I went on my visit, they told me how interested they were in me," Williams said. "They told me that they hoped and prayed that I don't get past pick 38, because at pick 38 I'm going to be a Cardinal. I'm not sure if they told anybody else that....but they were (men) of their word. I really respect that."

Second-round RB a surprise for Cardinals - NFC West Blog - ESPN
No one can accuse the Arizona Cardinals of reaching to fill needs in the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL draft. After selecting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson fifth overall, the Cardinals drafted Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams. The team already has 2009 first-round pick Beanie Wells and incumbent starter Tim Hightower at the position, with LaRod Stephens-Howling expected to take more reps as well.

Word From the Birds Blog - Cards take RB Ryan Williams in second
Well, there’s a curveball from the Cardinals, as they spend their second-round pick on Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams. Jason Wright is likely retiring but the Cards still have Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower (whose contract has expired) and LaRod Stephens-Howling. You figured they needed a back, but a surprise in the second, especially since they are clearly still looking for a pass rusher. You also wonder how much Hightower’s lingering fumble issues could be in play. Williams is called a "supercompetitive multi-purpose back" by Pro Football Weekly, who also note he "runs too hard" as a negative (I always thought that was a plus, right?).

Could Cards win the division with Peterson and Bulger? -
With the selection of Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals immediately improved their defense with potentially the best player on the board. However, many pundits are scratching their heads with how a cornerback will improve the most important position and biggest question mark for the Cardinals in 2010, quarterback.

Speculation about Kolb deal false -
Anyone who thinks the Arizona Cardinals, or any other team for that matter, already has a deal in place for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb can put those thoughts to bed.

Peterson says he wants to be the best -
Cardinals first round draft pick Patrick Peterson said he wants to be the best at what he does every day in the NFL. Peterson joined Sports 620 KTAR's Sports Interactive Friday after he was selected fifth overall by the Cardinals Thursday night and talked about his dream of reaching the NFL finally coming true.

Larry Fitzgerald is happy the Cardinals passed on quarterbacks | ProFootballTalk
Larry Fitzgerald has already lived through one failed top-10 pick at quarterback in Arizona. He didn’t want to go through it again. "If you miss at corner, you can plug in someone else and play through it. If you miss at that position [quarterback], it’ll set your franchise back years, man," Fitzgerald told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports Thursday. (Matt Leinart sends his regards.) Silver spent draft night at Fitzgerald’s house, and it’s clear the Cardinals receiver is a budding draftnik. blogs - Kent Somers - Playing Peterson, LSH together
Patrick Peterson, the first-round pick, will be used immediately as a kick returner, and coach Ken Whisenhunt thinks he could be one of the best in the game right away. The Cardinals already have a great one in LaRod Stephens-Howling. LSH, however, won't necessarily be replaced, because the Cardinals might have both deep to receive kicks.

Cards land some high-profile help for Beanie Wells | ProFootballTalk
Viewed as one of the top running backs in the draft, Ryan Williams ended up being the second one selected, only 10 picks after 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Williams is the newest member of the Arizona Cardinals. The move comes only two years after the Cardinals used a first-round selection on Beanie Wells.

What does drafting Ryan Williams mean for Cards running backs? -
The Arizona Cardinals surprised fans and the NFL by selecting running back Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech with their second-round pick. It should serve as a notice to the two running backs, Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, on their roster. One of them is likely on their way out. describes Williams as a high energy guy who is patient and has great vision. They list not holding the ball close to his body as one of his weaknesses. His 30 touchdowns and 2,132 yards in college are impressive.

Cardinals select Ryan Williams with second round pick -
he Arizona Cardinals have selected running back Ryan Williams with their second round pick at number 38. "This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do in my whole life and I have an opportunity to do it," said Williams. He left college after an injury marred sophomore season at Virginia Tech.

With the 38th pick, the Arizona Cardinals select... | National Football Post
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech Williams can be dynamic in the open field, knows how to catch the football out of the backfield and will hold his own in blitz pick-up. He should make an instant impact on the Cardinals offense as long as he's able to stay healthy.

Word From the Birds Blog - Tight end Housler becomes third pick
The Cardinals took tight end Rob Housler out of Florida Atlantic in the third round. Housler came on as a senior and showed well at the combine. He had 39 receptions for 629 yards and four touchdowns last season. NFL Network’s Charles Davis said he reminds him of the Giants’ Kevin Boss. He is athletic, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 248 pounds. He is married with a child too. Ben Patrick, whose contract is up, seems unlikely to return. The other Cards’ tight ends are Jim Dray and Stephen Spach, so it was a need. Pro Football Weekly said he can catch in a crowd, and he is fast (4.46 was one of his timed 40s). Housler said the Cards were a team that had showed interest in him pre-draft. He acknowledged he has to work on his blocking — a conversation he already had with Ken Whisenhunt — but he can "get open and stretch the field."

Cardinals add speed, address TE need - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals have selected a tight end before the seventh round for the first time since Ken Whisenhunt became head coach in 2007. blogs - Kent Somers - Cardinals take a tight end in the third round
The Cardinals hope they addressed a need in the third round, taking tight end Rob Housler of Florida Atlantic with the 69th overall pick.

Cards draft tight end Rob Housler with third round pick -
The Arizona Cardinals selected tight end Rob Housler with their third round pick at number 69. The 6-5, 247-pound Housler is a speedy tight end that played college ball at Florida Atlantic. "My strengths are being able to get open and stretch a defense being a mismatch anywhere on the field," said Housler.

Gambo: Williams picked due to 'lack of production' -
Once the surprise of the Ryan Williams pick dissipated the conversation turned towards how he fits with the team. While Sports 620 KTAR's Gambo and Ash said Williams could be good for the Cardinals, they agreed that his arrival may not be good for the other running backs on the roster.

NFL Draft Round 2: Cardinals Surprise With Running Back Ryan Williams - SB Nation Arizona
The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft quickly moved through five picks. Two quarterbacks were taken and two cornerbacks were taken and one defensive lineman is off the board. That left plenty of options available to the Arizona Cardinals with the 38th pick (sixth of the second round). With that pick the Cardinals took a running back, Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech. All the talk about the Cardinals needing help rushing the quarterback, or getting a quarterback, and the Cardinals switched things up and went with a running back. This obviously tells us that coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't happy with his duo of Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells.

NFL Draft, Round 3: Robert Housler Becomes Third Skill Position Pick For Cardinals - SB Nation Arizona
The Arizona Cardinals are done for Day 2 of the 2011 NFL Draft. With their second round pick (38th overall) they surprised many with Ryan Williams, a running back from Virginia Tech. With their third round pick (69th overall) the Cardinals completed the skill position triumvirate by taking tight end, Robert Houseler from Florida Atlantic. Housler was ranked as the 124th best player in the 2011 NFL Draft according to ESPN's expert rankings but according to the Cardinals front office he either fills a need that's far more desperate than most people think or he's a lot better football prospect than believed.

Hard work pays off for 1st-round picks, area natives Cameron Jordan, Prince Amukamara
Prince Amukamara, Cameron Jordan and Prince Amukamara were in the recruiting shadows of Everson Griffen their senior year in high school. But they worked hard to become first-round NFL draft picks.

Kaepernick doesn’t change Jim Harbaugh’s plans for Alex Smith | ProFootballTalk
Colin Kaepernick couldn’t have picked a much better situation to land in as a rookie quarterback than he did in San Francisco. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be counted on to start early in his rookie year. That role is still more likely to go to Alex Smith.

2011 NFL draft: Ryan Mallett and the Patriots were among the losers on Day 2 - ESPN
Ryan Mallett and the Patriots were among the losers on Day 2 of the 2011 NFL draft, writes John Clayton.

Dave Duerson's brain study results to be out Monday - ESPN Chicago
The Boston University center that studies brain injuries to professional athletes says it will release the findings on former NFL player Dave Duerson on Monday.

NFL Draft 2011, Second Round: Pick Updates And Player Information -
The 2011 NFL draft moves onto its second day where we'll see the second and third rounds.

NFL Draft 2011: Recapping Every Round 3 Pick -
Miss any of Friday's third round? Relive all the action and check out brief capsules on each pick in this StoryStream.

Yes, that’s probably it for Reggie Bush in New Orleans | ProFootballTalk
Reggie Bush thinks he’s done in New Orleans. It sounds like he’s on the right track. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Bush’s time in New Orleans is expected to come to an end. Jon Gruden thought coach Sean Payton would want to pair Bush with Mark Ingram, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Court of Appeals restores NFL lockout, grants request for temporary stay - ESPN
NFL reinstates lockout, effective immediately.