Cardinals Draft Analysis: DE Kenny Iwebema

With Cardinals fans everywhere expecting the team to tab a running back, especially with Tashard Choice still on the board, GM Rod Graves pulled another shocker and drafted DE Kenneth Iwebema in round four. Will Iwebema crack the rotation and justify his selection?'s Samantha Fillerup takes a closer look.

Who He Is

Kenneth Iwebema (6'4", 274 pounds) played defensive end for the University of Iowa. In 2007, he tallied 28 total tackles, five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He also blocked four kicks in his career, a role he will attempt to reprise with the Cardinals.

What To Like

Iwebema is a strong, physical defender who will also be useful on special teams. He has good body control and balance and readily levels running backs. He will not hesitate to clash with offensive linemen and is adept at slipping off blocks to get into the backfield.

What Not To Like

He lacks ideal field instincts and tends to let up on plays when he is not involved. He ran the 40-yard dash in a mediocre 4.98 seconds and does not have great agility or speed. He is an adequate wrap-up tackler but usually just crashes into ball carriers. He has struggled to stay healthy, as his career was riddled with injuries: concussions in 2005 and 2007, a triceps tendon injury and broken collarbone in 2006, and a shoulder sprain in 2007.

Who Else Was Available

Among the top players available were running back Tashard Choice (Dallas Cowboys), offensive tackle Carl Nicks (New Orleans Saints), tight end Derek Fine (Buffalo Bills) and cornerback Justin Tryon (Washington Redskins). The Cardinals met with Choice, Nicks and Fine prior to the draft.

Looking Forward

Iwebema joins a talented and well-built defensive line that includes second-round draft pick Calais Campbell. Iwebema will have more of an impact against the run, as his strength is going after ball carriers rather than rushing quarterbacks. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential to be very productive and will be a great asset for the Cardinals defense and special teams.

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