Rookie Playing Time Projections: Offense

While the major contributions from this year's rookie class will come from the defense, the Cardinals offensive rookies could make a splash of their own. Several newcomers at key positions will be given an opportunity to perform when called upon. Brad Wilbricht predicts which offensive rookies will make the biggest impact in this AZRedReport.com exclusive.

WR Early Doucet is the offensive rookie most likely to see extensive playing time in 2008. Doucet is currently in a heated competition with second-year receiver WR Steve Breaston for the third wide receiver spot. With both players performing at a high level, the battle is expected to last through the preseason.

Doucet is a polished route-runner who possesses the strength needed to effectively transition into the NFL. He displays oustanding hands and has already drawn comparisons to Cardinals Pro Bowl WR Anquan Boldin. Doucet excels as a slot receiver and should be the biggest contributor of this year's offensive rookie class.


RB Tim Hightower
(AP Photo)

With the status of backup running backs Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington uncertain, RB Tim Hightower will have an opportunity to seize the second spot on the depth chart. Hightower has been impressive during minicamp and OTA's, demonstrating outstanding explosiveness and versatility. He's a bruising back who thrives running in between the tackles. Hightower's running style has been compared to Dallas Cowboys RB Marion Barber, making him an ideal fit in head coach Ken Whisenhunt's power rushing attack.

Multiple first-year players will have an opportunity to contribute along the offensive line this season. Brandon Keith, Peter Clifford and Hercules Satele will all vie for roster spots and playing time in a reserve role.

Keith, the Cardinals seventh-round draft pick, spent one season at Oklahoma before transferring to Northern Iowa. He exhibits tremendous versatility and can be utilized at both guard and tackle. Keith's awareness and commitment have been questioned, but he should benefit from learning under offensive line coach Russ Grimm.

Clifford is another multi-talented lineman who spent time at guard and tackle during his college career. If Clifford can continue to develop his skill-set under Grimm, he could provide much needed depth on the Cardinals offensive line. Although Clifford is currently projected at the tackle position, his experience playing guard offers added value to the Cardinals offense.

Satele features an excellent work-ethic and solid technique in the trenches. He excels as a run blocker and could be a valuable tool in the Cardinals rushing game. If Satele locks down a spot on the active roster, he has the ability to push top backups Elton Brown and Scott Peters for playing time.


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