Arizona selects Gerald Hayes

The call may have come later in the day than Gerald Hayes had hoped for, but Saturday evening the phone rang and it was the Arizona Cardinals calling to tell him that he was their third round draft choice in the 2003 NFL Draft.<br><br> And it may have been no surprise to Gerald that the team with the 30th ranked defense against the run last season had drafted him.

For the 2003 draft, the hard-hitting, sure-tackling middle linebacker was rated third at his position by most. As it turned out, he was the third taken after E.J. Henderson (Maryland) and Terry Pierce (Kansas State) were taken in the second round with the 40th and 51st overall picks. Hayes was the 70th overall pick of the draft and the tenth linebacker drafted.

In his three years as a starter at Pitt, Gerald earned three Big East selections while recording over 100 tackles a season, the first Pitt player to do that since Jerry Olsavsky. He capped off his college career with an outstanding senior campaign, registering 133 tackles – 19 for losses, 2 interceptions, and 4 passes defensed.

Hayes should get plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his run-stopping skills in Arizona . The defense-starved Cardinals allowed 2146 yards rushing in 2002, an average of 134.1 yards per game. It's probable that the Cardinals will be moving him to the strong side, where he lined up for part of the Senior Bowl.

Without a doubt, Pitt fans will continue to follow Gerald Hayes in his new pro football career and be wishing him the best of luck.

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