Cardinals Meet Twice with Top RB Prospect

The Cardinals met with a running back prospect at the NFL Combine and attended his Pro Day shortly thereafter. GM Rod Graves is looking to revive an aging backfield and has zeroed in on a potential set of fresh legs. Brad Wilbricht caught up with this player and discussed his draft preparations in this Cardinalinsider.com exclusive.

The Cardinals spent one of their private meetings at the NFL Combine on Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice. Arizona then reaffirmed its interest in the talented back by attending his Pro Day a few weeks later.

Like the rest of this year's draft class, Choice is preparing for life in the NFL. However, Choice possesses a significant advantage over his competition: he's already experienced a similar transition.

Choice transferred to Georgia Tech after one season at the University of Oklahoma. He was buried on the Sooners depth chart and spent 2004 backing up reigning NFL Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson.


RB Tashard Choice
Michel Conroy/AP

Choice made the most of his new opportunity with the Yellow Jackets. He was a two-time All-ACC selection and led the conference in rushing in 2006 and 2007. Choice racked up 3,365 rushing yards in only three seasons, ranking fourth in school history. He also displayed his knack for finding the end-zone, scoring 28 touchdowns.

Choice (5'11", 210 pounds) is a proven workhorse who displays excellent power and toughness. He's a patient runner who reads blocks exceptionally well. Choice features a quick change of direction and the ability to make sharp cuts. His aggressiveness allows him to consistently accumulate yards after contact.

Choice is also a reliable target out of the backfield and can be utilized on screen passes.

Choice was outstanding at his Pro Day, demonstrating athleticism and consistency. He completed his workout with a 37.5-inch vertical jump, 4.26-second shuttle run and 6.87-second cone drill. In addition, he looked fluid and natural in position drills.

Choice was satisfied with his performance and accomplished everything he was hoping to prove.

"I wanted to show explosiveness, and show that I'm strong catching the ball. I think I proved both of those things," Choice said.

While the draft process is starting to wind down, it's been an exhausting experience for Choice. He's enjoyed his NFL preparations, but is ready to get back on the playing field.

"It's been very long. You just have to take it day by day," Choice said. "Now that everything is done, I'm trying to stay in shape and wait for someone to call my name in the draft. Then, I can go play football again."

Choice has been compared to a younger Edgerrin James. Both lack top-end speed but compensate with shiftiness and versatility. Choice's balanced running style and receiving skills make him a potential every-down back at the NFL level.

Choice would provide the Cardinals with long-term security in the backfield. Veteran Marcel Shipp and underachieving J.J. Arrington are currently the only running backs on the roster behind James.

If Choice's performance next season is anything comparable to James in his early days, acquiring him late on day one of the draft would be a steal.


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