Cardinals 09' Rookies Have Big Cleats to Fill
Chris Wells (Getty)
Chris Wells (Getty)
AZRedReport.com
Posted May 25, 2009


The 2009 draft class has big shoes to fill with the departure of key veterans from the Cardinals’ NFC Champion squad. Arizona scooped up an assortment of talent, but will it be enough to recharge for another winning season? Chris “Beanie” Wells is the highlight of the group and should contribute early. What about the rest? AzRedReport breaks down every pick.

RB Chris Wells (Rd 1): Wells is a great addition for the Cardinals and should be able to contribute in 2009. He has the tools to be a top tier running back, but his health will always be a concern. What Wells lacks in speed, he makes up with instincts. He is a great downhill runner and should fit in seamlessly with Coach Ken Whisenhunt’s style of offense.

At 6’1, 237 his build will also help him adjust to the Cardinals running scheme. Wells’ biggest uncertainty is his pass catching ability. He rarely had passes thrown his way during his tenure at Ohio State. With the Cardinals offense, that will drastically change.

DE Cody Brown (Rd 2): The Cardinals needed to add depth at linebacker and they accomplished that task with the selection of Brown. His strength is getting to the passer, but he may struggle in coverage. The Cardinals chose Brown as a pass rush specialist. So he should not see too much action dropping back to defend. Brown was a very effective college player and, with time, he should make a successful transition to the NFL.

S Rashad Johnson (Rd 3): The Cardinals decided on Johnson under the premise of “you can never have too much of a good thing”. Already strong at safety with Adrian Wilson and Antrel Rolle, the Cardinals added Johnson to solidify an already strong position. Johnson size (6’0 190) may be an issue, but hopefully his quarterback reading capabilities and vision will help take him to the next level.

CB Gregory Toler (Rd 4): Toler is a Div. II project player, with a high ceiling. As the first player ever drafted into the NFL from St. Paul’s College, his shift to the NFL may be the most difficult of any of the draft picks. Toler struggled with academics in high school and college and he will have to show Coach Whisenhunt that he has the ability to understand the complex NFL schemes. His speed and awareness could make him a solid player if he is given the time to develop.

OL Herman Johnson (Rd 5): Johnson is a beast of man who could help rejuvenate the Cardinals run game. At 6’7 355, he is one of the largest players to ever call Arizona his home. He will have to bring more than just size however, if he is going to crack Coach Whisenhunt’s rotation. His agility is remarkable for a player of his size, but his technique needs improvement before he can be called upon on a consistent basis.

DE Will Davis (Rd 6): A versatile player who could mesh well at a variety of positions for the Cardinals. Davis could be used as a 3-4 rush linebacker, but with his experience nearly everywhere on the field, the options are limitless. Davis speed (4.9 40) will be one of his biggest weaknesses.

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (Rd 7): Based only on statistics, L-Rod is quite a stretch to make the Cardinals roster and contribute in 2009. Based on his speed and ability, he could be a great option to replace J.J. Arrington as the team’s kick returner. L Rod was trapped behind collegiate star LeSean McCoy for the past two years and did not have the chance to truly show his talent. Given the opportunity he could be the 2009 version of Steve Breaston.

OL Trevor Canfield (Rd 7- compensatory): A long shot to make the roster, Canfield will have to bring his A game from day one to make a lasting impression on Coach Whisenhunt. His size, toughness and intensity should be enough to land him on the practice squad. He will need to improve his mechanics, awareness, and reaction time before he can be considered a viable option on the front line.



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OLB Cody Brown (profile)
OG Trevor Canfield (profile)
DE Will Davis (profile)
FS Rashad Johnson (profile)
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (profile)
CB Greg Toler (profile)
RB Beanie Wells (profile)
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