The Cardinals vastly upgraded their defense this offseason with key free-agent acquisitions. Only…
Cardinals Power Rankings: Nos. 35-29
34. P Dirk Johnson (6'0", 205) will take over punting duties this season after spending one season with the Chicago Bears, four with the Philadelphia Eagles and his rookie season appearing in one game for the New Orleans Saints. Johnson signed a one-year contract of March 2008 with Arizona. The longest punt of his career is 62 yards (2004).
33. OLB: Clark Haggans (6'4", 243) has familiarity working on his side as he comes to Arizona by way of Ken Whisenhunt's old stomping grounds, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Entering his ninth season, the Cardinals are expecting Haggans to make an immediate impact. Last year, he started in all 16 games with 58 tackles and four sacks.
32. DE Calais Campbell (6'8", 282) is a threat to play anywhere on the line. His outstanding size and his good wrap-up technique is something to like. He is a shoe-in to beat out the classy, but aging Bert Berry for a backup role. Campbell was a surprise pick in the second-round, but he was too good of an athlete to pass up.
31. RB Tim Hightower (6'0", 226) is the Cardinals newest buzz-worthy player. Whisenhunt has said that Hightower has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and that's one of the things he likes most about him. Edgerrin James is still producing 1,222-yard seasons, but his per carry average (3.8) leaves much to the imagination. Expect Hightower to beat out J.J. Arrington (78 yards) for a roster spot and give Marcel Shipp (41 yards) a run for the No. 2 role.
Click here for an AZRedReport.com exclusive with Hightower.
Click here for Richmond RB coach Charles Bankins' breakdown of his former player.
Is the fifth-round pick the best steal of the draft? Find out here .
30. DE Bryan Robinson (6'4", 304), not to be confused with the rookie defensive tackle of the same name, is going on his 12th season. The veteran brings valuable experience to the front seven. He has appeared in all 16 games, seven times in his career. Robinson will battle for playing time with the rookies Kenny Iwebema and Calais Campbell. The battle between the backups might also come down to the experienced Robinson and Berry.
29. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (6'2", 185) is the Cardinals newest golden-boy. The organization and fans are so pumped up about the addition of the Tennessee State product. As most know, Rodgers-Cromartie is the first-cousin of San Diego Chargers cornerback and the 2007 league-leading interception king Antonio Cromartie. The cornerback corps was an area of key-concern this offseason and the Cardinals have done a good job of creating a solid squad. Rodgers-Cromartie merely needs to show a mediocre transition to the big league to beat out Green or Hood for a starting role. However, Arizona could put him on the back-burner as a backup in the early games.
Click here for an exclusive Q&A with the Cardinals first-round selection.
Click here for Part II of the rankings.
Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications. Her analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.
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