Cardinals High On Hightower's Potential

The Cardinals threw a curve ball by waiting until the fifth round to select a running back to complement the ground game. Timothy Hightower out of Richmond is a power back with lofty expectations to fill. He has a combination of Marcel Shipp's between-the-tackle ability and J.J. Arrington's receiving talent, but lacks home-run ability.

Timothy Hightower (6'0", 226 pounds) does not have the home-run game that Ken Whisenhunt said he wanted since day one. He lacks the wheels needed to add explosion to the Cardinals' run campaign, but could be groomed for bigger load than most speed backs. Hightower will likely push for the top backup spot behind Edgerrin James.

Arizona was pursuing East Carolina back Chris Johnson, but he fell out of their reach when he was drafted to the Tennessee Titans in round one before Arizona went on the clock again in round two.

Hightower prides himself on being able to pick up tough yards, qualities that are reminiscent of the man he would replace.

In 2007, Hightower earned first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors after putting together a statistical masterpiece. He carried 327 times for a school-record 1,924 yards (5.9 avg) and 20 touchdowns. He also chipped in 32 receptions for 228 yards and three TDs.

His monster senior year was hardly an aberration. In his three years as a starter, he compiled 3,712 rushing yards, 818 receiving yards and 39 total touchdowns.

A Scout's Perspective

Tom Marino is a former pro scout with more than 30 years of experience in the league. Here is what he thinks of Hightower:

"Led the nation sub division in rushing on 2007 (327-1924-5.9-20). A zone runner who possesses good initial quickness to press the line of scrimmage. Showed moves in the hole and once he broke the LOS exhibited multiple cutting skills in the open area. A strong runner who can break secured tackles and finish .Fine receiver who caught and adjusted to the ball well on arrow and flat routes. Has never fumbled in over 700 carries during his career. A true ruby. Round 3-4."

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for 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.

Michael Lombardo contributed to this report.

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