LaRod Stephens-Howling (Getty)
The Cardinals finished their 2009 draft with the hopes of capitalizing on a few sleepers. Finding late round gems has become increasingly difficult with drastic improvements in scouting techniques. The final three picks brought three positions the Cardinals addressed earlier in the draft. Will DE/OLB Will Davis, RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, and OG Trevor Canfield be able to make an impact?
Sixth Round: DE/OLB Will Davis:
Davis (6’2", 261) should help address the Cardinals’ depth issues on the front line. His mediocre forty time (4.88) and lack of strength could pose a problem for his transition to the NFL. What Davis does have is a natural athletic ability and above average awareness.
During his college career he posted decent numbers, with his best year coming in 2007. That season he produced 12.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. Davis should push for a roster spot, but he must have a superb training camp if he is going to stay in the Cardinals plans for 2009.
Seventh Round (a): RB LaRod Stephens-Howling:
Selected out of Pittsburg with the 240th overall pick, Stephens-Howling looks to strength the Cardinals running back core. At 5’6 with good speed, he is similar to J.J. Arrington.
Stephens-Howling will need to demonstrate that size is not everything if he is going to stick on the roster. Could he be the next Maurice Jones-Drew? Hopefully the hyphenated name isn’t the only attribute they have in common.
After rushing for 893 yards in 2006, Stephens-Howling did not break 500 for the rest of his college career. He did catch at least ten passes his last three seasons at Pitt. With his pass catching abilities and lack of size, Stephens-Howling best chance of contributing will be as a third down back.
Seventh Round (b) OG Trevor Canfield:
The Cardinals finished their draft selections by scooping up Canfield (6’4 307) with the 45th pick of the 7th round. Canfield was a three-year starter for the Bearcats. During his stay in Cincinnati Canfield showed his durability by starting 25 consecutives games.
Canfield’s experience and blocking ability may allow him to muscle his way into a spot on the roster, but he will have to prove that he can increase strength first.
After having charges dropped when he allegedly hit a man in the head with a glass bottle, Canfield will have to show he can continue to stay out of trouble. Ken Whisenhunt does not subscribe to the Al Davis' school of thought when it comes to off field incidents.
Overall, Canfield could be a good fit as a backup for the Cardinals, but his chances of contributing as a starter are slim.