Will the Cards add a defensive free agent?

During the offseason, the Cardinals added several pieces to a defense that struggled most of last season. In addition to key free-agent acquisitions, four of the team's draft picks were defensive players. With the roster near its completion, AZRedReport.com's Brad Wilbricht breaks down which defensive free agents could still end up in Arizona.

Defensive Line

The Cardinals have been extremely active in adding help along the defensive line. Bryan Robinson will provide great depth while splitting time at end and tackle in the Cardinals 3-4 scheme. Arizona also drafted defensive ends Calais Campbell and Kenny Iwebema. Both players should contribute immediately.

If GM Rod Graves decides to bring in reinforcements on the defensive line, it will likely be at the tackle position. Former Kansas City Chiefs DT James Reed would be an excellent fit in Clancy Pendergast's aggressive defense. Reed lacks ideal size (6'0", 286 pounds) but has tremendous quickness. He's versatile enough to play all positions on the defensive line and can be used in situational packages.

Linebacker

The Cardinals made a big splash at the linebacker position, adding Travis LaBoy, Clark Haggans and Matt Stewart. The Cardinals also drafted Chris Harrington from Texas A&M. Harrington played defensive end in college but will transition to outside linebacker in the NFL.

Additionally, Chike Okeafor has an excellent chance of reclaiming his starting position at outside linebacker. Okeafor missed all of 2007 with a torn biceps tendon and will be a key fixture in replacing the departed Calvin Pace.

While the Cardinals have plenty of valuable leadership, the team needs younger playmakers to develop for the future. Two potential candidates are ILB Caleb Miller and OLB Marquis Cooper. Miller would provide further depth at inside linebacker behind top backup Monty Beisel. Cooper is undersized (6'3", 213 pounds) but is fast and athletic. He's a converted safety and is outstanding in pass coverage. If Cooper can add bulk to his frame, he could be a dynamic player for many years.

Secondary

The Cardinals selected Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with their first-round draft pick but failed to add any other difference-makers. Graves' main focus between now and training camp will be finding more help at the cornerback position.

Arizona re-signed cornerbacks Matt Ware and Ralph Brown, but they'll likely be counted on in deep-reserve roles. If the Cardinals do make a push for additional support, two possibilities are Chad Scott and Terry Cousin. Scott and Cousin are seasoned veterans that could help mentor rookie Rodgers-Cromartie. Furthermore, both have a great deal of experience on successful teams and would help solidify the winning attitude coach Ken Whisenhunt has instilled in the desert.

With SS Adrian Wilson returning from an ACL injury and Antrel Rolle moving from cornerback to free safety, the Cardinals are unlikely to add another safety to the roster. In addition to Wilson and Rolle, Aaron Francisco has developed into a dependable backup and provides great depth.


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