The Arizona Cardinals had many needs headed into the 2011 NFL Draft and cornerback wasn't high on the list. That didn't stop general manager Rod Graves from taking Patrick Peterson with the fifth pick. Peterson was generally considered one of the best football players in the 2011 draft and the Cardinals weren't "bowled over" by any offers to trade down in the draft.
The upside to this decision is Peterson, a guy who will likely start right away at corner and get a chance to return kicks and punts as well. Great stuff for sure but the pick also leaves several big holes in the roster for the Cardinals to fill in the later round.
Obviously, quarterback is the biggest hole in the Cardinals team and since they reportedly didn't have one for the available QBs at the top of their draft board they have other plans in mind. There was a report on Thursday that the team has an "understanding" in place with free agent Marc Bulger. There are, however, several interesting QB prospects left on the draft board. The top three remaining quarterbacks to keep an eye on in Friday's second and third rounds of the NFL draft are Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallet and Colin Kaepernick.
We have a hard time seeing the Cardinals taking one of these guys with their second round pick (38th overall) but perhaps is one is available when the Cards draft in the third round (69th overall) they could snatch one up.
The Cardinals were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season when it came to putting pressure on the quarterback. Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell just didn't get the job done on their own and last year's first round pick, Dan Williams, is more of a run-stopper than pass rusher. Help needs to come on the edges and there's several interesting names left on the draft board.
Arizona's Brooks Reed, Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson, and OLB Akeem Ayers of UCLA are three of the most highly rated rushers still available. In addition Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh and Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia are on the board as is Hamilton High School star and SB Nation Arizona blogger, Dontay Moch who could be available in the third round.
Offensive Line and Tight End
The offensive line faces the potential of losing veterans Deuce Lutui and Alan Faneca who are both without contracts for next season. Tight end has been a hole for several years which makes Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph a name to watch. Clint Boling from Georgian and Wisconsin's John Moffitt are two names to monitor here.
The second and third round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 3 p.m. (AZT) on Friday, April 29, and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft or for Cardinals coverage, visit Revenge of the Birds.