Arizona/Seattle: Teams Eyeing Sleeper Back

Tim Hightower fueled the Cardinals ground game with double-digit touchdowns in his rookie year. He was a surprise pick in the fifth round, and Coach Ken Whisenhunt was fond of the chip on Hightower's shoulder. The Cardinals might follow a similar trail.'s Adam Caplan reported that NFC West rivals, the Cardinals and Seahawks, both scheduled pre-draft visits with a relatively unknown RB.

Who He is: Pittsburgh's LaRod Stephens-Howling turned an undrafted free agent rookie projection to a possible sixth or seven round forecast with a fantastic Pro Day last month.

Adam Caplan reported that Stephens-Howling ran a blistering 4.41 40-yard dash and had a vertical jump of 33'. Caplan says he also benched an impressive 18 reps at 225 pounds.

Why He Works: Caplan says that Stephens-Howling projects to be a change of pace back at the next level. An NFL scout compared Stephens-Howling to San Diego Chargers RB Darren Sproles. Comparisons have been made between Sproles and J.J. Arrington who left for the Denver Broncos.

LaRod Stephens-Howling

Tim Hightower has an eye for the end zone, but the Cardinals need more. They would let Edgerrin James go if they had someone to take his place. Stephens-Howling may not be the guy, but he is a small shifty back (5'7", 180) who could supplement Hightower well.

The Cardinals also need major special teams help. With Arrington gone and the possibility of Steve Breaston continuing to keep an active role as a receiver, Stephens-Howling could help fill the void at a good price.

Arizona seeks out the solid bargains. Stephens-Howling's former teammate LeSean McCoy is one of the top backs in the draft. Arizona likely went to Pittsburgh to watch McCoy but got a surprise in Stephens-Howling who they scheduled a pre-draft visit with.

Quotes to Note: "I've coached in college and the NFL, and believe me when I tell you that LaRod can play at the next level,'' Pitt Coach Dave Wannstedt said."He's fast and tough and a good leader. He will do whatever it takes to make a team, and I think he'll do it."

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