Cardinals need to hit on draft picks

Coming off a disappointing 5-11 campaign, Arizona has several needs to address this offseason and a successful draft will help.

Like any other organization, the Cardinals are understandably sensitive when the quality of their recent drafts is questioned.

But there is no doubt the team needs to get more production out of its top selections that it has over coach Ken Whisenhunt's four seasons in Arizona.

Mistakes are inevitable but there have been too many of them.

Tackle Levi Brown, the fifth overall pick in 2007, has been just average, although he's been a starter throughout his career.

Running back Beanie Wells, a first-round pick in 2009, has yet to prove himself. Outside linebacker Cody Brown, the second-round pick in 2009, was cut before his second season.

Linebacker Buster Davis, a third-round pick in 2007, was cut before his first season.

Not every pick has been a bad one. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a first-round pick in 2008, made the Pro Bowl in his second season. Nose tackle Dan Williams, taken in the first round last year, played well late in the year.

But the Cardinals have numerous weaknesses and will need to not only avoid mistakes in the draft this season, but to select players who can contribute as rookies.

Nice fits: OLB Von Miller, ILB Martez Wilson, OG Marcus Cannon.

Many mock drafts have the Cardinals taking Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, but it's more likely they will take a defensive player who can help immediately.

The team likes Gabbert but doesn't believe he's a sure thing on the order of Sam Bradford or Matt Ryan.

The Cardinals need immediate help. If Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller drops to them, they would be happy.

If he's gone, they will look seriously at Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson or North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn.

Georgia receiver A.J. Green makes some sense, too, given the contract situations of the two starters. Steve Breaston is not under contract for 2011, and Larry Fitzgerald has one more season left on his deal.

It's doubtful the Cardinals would trade up to get a player, although Miller might be tempting. But the Cardinals have numerous holes to fill and with only eight selections, can't afford to give up multiple selections.

Under Whisenhunt, however, the team has shown more willingness to trade on draft day. Last year, they moved up in the second round to get Daryl Washington, and moved into the fifth round to take quarterback John Skelton.

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