Cardinals’ draft results lack offensive punch - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Cardinals’ draft results lack offensive punch

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Posted: Monday, April 28, 2008 12:22 am | Updated: 8:38 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

They plugged holes at cornerback and among their pass-rushing spots. But on offense, they didn’t come away with a “home run” speed threat either at running back or wide receiver.

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That seems to be the bottom line from the Cardinals’ 2008 draft.

“We addressed some critical positions in terms of depth,” general manager Rod Graves said.

He acknowledged, though, that, “We didn’t hit on every area that we wanted.” But, he added, “We can’t be disappointed in terms of the way things fell.”

The Cardinals didn’t fill every need because, “We didn’t want to reach,” and that the “best available player” approach generally overruled trying to fill gaps.

“When we’ve taken that approach, we’ve usually come out ahead.”

BIG PLAY RECALLED

Valley sports fans may remember Early Doucet, the Cardinals’ third-round pick.

He made a dramatic catch in the end zone for LSU as the Tigers stole a win in the final seconds at Arizona State in September 2005.

NEED MORE THIS TIME

The Cardinals used their first two picks on defensive players for the first time since 2002.

That year’s draft was infamous for them.

They took Wendell Bryant in Round 1, No. 12 overall, and linebacker Levar Fisher in Round 2 (No. 49 overall).

Neither made an impact for the Cardinals. Bryant has been called the team’s biggest draft bust in the 20 years the Cardinals have been in Arizona.

SMALL SCHOOL SELECTIONS

The Cardinals took three players from outside Division I-A — cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Tennessee State, running back Tim Hightower from Richmond and tackle Brandon Keith from Northern Iowa — for the first time since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994.

The only other time the Cardinals did so was in 1989. Back then they took:

• Cornerback Ricky Royal in Round 7 out of I-AA Sam Houston State.

• Running back John Burch in Round 8 out of I-AA Tennessee-Martin.

• Defensive end Jeff Hunter in Round 11 out of Div. II Albany State.

CLOSE TIES

Defensive end Kenny Iwebema was ecstatic about being picked by the Cardinals in Round 4.

The reason: His position coach with the Cardinals will be Ron Aiken, the same guy who recruited him and coached him at Iowa up until last season.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be drafted,” Iwebema said. “It’s even better to know exactly what I’m getting in coach Aiken. … He was the closest thing to a father figure I had at Iowa.”

10 YEARS AGO

The Cardinals hope they found a jewel late in the draft just like they did a decade ago.

In Round 7 in 1998, with the No. 226 overall pick, they took a linebacker/safety out of Arizona State named Pat Tillman.

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