Cards' needs: RB, linebacker, tight end - East Valley Tribune: News

Cards' needs: RB, linebacker, tight end

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Posted: Friday, April 24, 2009 2:11 pm | Updated: 2:19 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

It's hard to predict who will fall to Arizona with the 31st pick in the NFL draft, but here's the best guess based on the Cardinals' needs and draft projections.                                 

The 2009 NFL draft so farFollow the NFL Draft | What elite player do you hope falls to Cards?  |  Top prospects

The Cardinals have the 31st overall pick in Saturday's NFL draft, which begins at 1 p.m. It's hard to predict who will fall to Arizona, but here's the best guess based on the Cardinals' needs and draft projections.

NEEDS

1. Running back: The expected release of Edgerrin James leaves the Cardinals dangerously thin at running back. Arizona needs a complement for Tim Hightower and some speed in the backfield.

2. Outside linebacker: The Cardinals have some depth at the position, but Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor are 33 years old. Arizona could also use some speed off the edge; Berry led the team with five quarterback sacks last year.

3. Tight end: Arizona's tight ends caught just 22 passes last year. Giving Kurt Warner a target down the middle of the field will make the Cardinals' offense that much tougher to defend.

POSSIBLE PICKS AT 31

1. Assuming the Cardinals don't trade wide receiver Anquan Boldin and move up in the draft, they'll be happy if Connecticut's Donald Brown falls to them. The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Brown isn't a speedster, but he rushed for 2,083 yards last year and also caught 21 passes.

2. Beanie Wells. There's some concern about Wells' toughness, but no one questions his talent. The Ohio State product rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last year despite missing three games, and he's an ideal combination of size (6-1, 237) and speed.

3. Larry English. The Cardinals are said to be high on the Northern Illinois outside linebacker, who had 32.5 career sacks in college.

LATER ROUNDS

In addition to the three positions of need listed above, expect the Cards to add depth to the offensive line, particularly at the interior positions. Adding another cornerback is also a strong possibility.

BOLDIN FACTOR

Forecasting what Arizona will do is even more difficult because any trade involving Boldin likely won't happen until after the draft begins. If the Cardinals do acquire an earlier pick in the first round, look for them to grab Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno.

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