Cards Tab WR Early-er Than Expected

Arizona's heavy-hitting receiving corps just hit a home run with the addition of WR Early Doucet out of LSU. The Cardinals need more out of the run game, but with Bryant Johnson out of town and Anquan Boldin hoping to follow suit, the Cardinals picked up some major insurance in the third round. Doucet, however, is the first to say he'd like Boldin to stay.

Rod Graves made no secret that the Cardinals would choose the best available. Early Doucet fit that bill. Most mock drafts had the Cardinals picking up a wide receiver in the later rounds to replace the depth that they lost when Bryant Johnson left, but Arizona could not pass on the talented Doucet, who was still available with the 81st overall pick.

Initial projections were that Doucet would be taken in the first round, so the Cardinals have to feel pretty good about their selection. He is an all-encompassing athlete who has great hands and can make the catch in heavy traffic. He doesn't bring a powerful punch, yet models his game after one of the most forceful receivers in the league.

"I like guys like Hines Ward and Anquan Boldin," Doucet said. "We're very similar as far as body, build, being able to run after the catch, and physical-type guys who don't mind going in there and doing the dirty work and blocking upfield, cracking on linebackers, whatever it takes."

The three-receiver set of Boldin, Larry Firtzgerald and Doucet could be the powerhouse of the NFC West. Doucet knows it's a long road to live up to be mentioned with the top names.

"It's basically up to you," Doucet said. "It's how you approach that situation, you know. You don't want to be a guy that's not prepared, not going into mini camp in shape. Just getting in there as soon as you can and being like a sponge and absorbing as much of the offense as you can. Then, obviously, when you get to training camp, just be there as soon as possible, don't have any holdouts and learn as much as you can."

The learning curve is a continuous process and Doucet is ready take his game to the next level.

"I think I've done a pretty good job of being able to do a little of everything," Doucet said. "But going to that next level, the NFL, you've got to try to find that edge. Because the DBs are very intelligent, they study every move, so you don't want to be that guy that's going to give away too many subtleties that the cornerbacks can pick up on.

Many experts expected Arizona to address its need at running back in round three. However, GM Rod Graves determined that Doucet's value was too good to pass up. The Cardinals will now look to round four for running back help.

A scout's perspective

Tom Marino is a former pro scout who has more than 30 years of experience in the league. Here is how he sizes up Doucet:

"Skilled receiver with size, speed, quicks, body control & hands. Gets head around and in and out of a break well. Adequate run after the catch and instincts. Had problem with him running the in route from the left side (too much chopping). Can avoid the hold up effectively with both power & finesse releases. Will work away from the ball and contribute in the run game. Bottom of the 1st round top of the 2nd draft potential. Not a great one but has few holes."

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications. Her analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.

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