LT Levi Brown (Greg Trott/Getty)
Ken Whisenhunt's arrival helped the Cardinals both on the field and in the draft. Arizona delivered one of its strongest draft's in 2007, setting the team up well for 2008. With another pivotal draft less than two months away, here is a look back at the Cardinals' recent drafting history.
How the Cardinals have done in the draft since 2005:
Total picks: 19
'07 Starters: 6
'07 Backups: 8
Other teams: 2
Out of NFL: 3
Injured Reserve/PUP: 0
The last three drafts have been hit and miss for the Cardinals. One top 10 overall pick, defensive back Antrel Rolle, is not a starter. The club is still searching for a speed back, even though that's the reason it drafted J.J. Arrington in the second round in 2005. And they've failed to replenish a weak linebacking corps, missing on several players.
While there have been success stories, the team needs to put a few good classes together. The 2006 class, headlined by quarterback Matt Leinart, looks strong, but the 2005 group hasn't produced as expected. It's too early to judge players taken in 2007.
Best pick: CB Eric Green, 2005 (third round, 75th overall). Overall, Green has played better than Antrel Rolle, the eighth overall pick in the same draft. He improved last year with some solid coaching and should be a good player for several years.
Worst pick: LB Buster Davis, 2007 (third round, 69th overall): He showed up overweight and didn't seem much interested in working to improve. Team officials couldn't believe it because they drafted Davis because of his high motor. He was only 5-9, so it's not like he could coast by on size and talent.
2007 DRAFT PICKS
1 (5) Levi Jones, OT: An ankle injury early in the year slowed his development, but he shows good athletic ability and should be fine. He struggled greatly against Seattle's Patrick Kerney late in the year, but bounced back to play his best two games. That showed some resilience and toughness.
2 (33) Alan Branch, NT: The Cardinals gave up a fourth-round pick to move up to the first selection in the second round to take Branch. A broken bone in his hand hindered him, and he needs a considerable amount of technique work. But when he plays with good technique, he can be hard to handle inside. He needs to make considerable improvement in 2008.
3 (69) Buster Davis, LB: A horrible bust. He showed up out of shape and stayed that way. The Cardinals gave him every chance to look like the guy who dominated college games. In a draft that included only five players, the club couldn't afford to blow a pick on the first day. But it did.
5 (142) Steve Breaston, WR: A very nice pickup for the Cardinals. He became the return threat the team had needed for years. He's dangerous every time he returns a kick and a punt. But his skills as a receiver are raw. He's fast and works very hard. But he doesn't look natural catching the ball. Still, his receiving skills made this a brilliant pick.
7 (215) Ben Patrick, TE: It's early but Patrick might develop into the best pick the team has made in years. He's athletic, catches the ball and he's bright. If he can refine his blocking skills, he will be a starter for years to come.