Pick Six: Q&A With Draft Expert Chris Steuber

AZRedReport.com caught up with Chris Steuber, Scout.com's resident draft expert, to discuss where Leonard Pope went wrong, what Matt Leinart needs to do to re-invent himself, why the Cardinals won't be up a creek if Anquan Boldin leaves the desert and much more answers (three to be exact) in this exclusive Q&A.

The Cardinals are in limbo with their ground game and need to address the concerns with their first round pick. Who do you foresee being available at pick No. 31? And who would compliment Tim Hightower best?

Connecticut's Donald Brown and Pittsburgh's LeSean McCoy will be available at No. 31. If I were making the selection for the Cardinals, I'd take Brown. They're both really good RBs, but Brown is much more explosive and has a great chance of having an impact. McCoy has a chance to be sensational, but I worry about his size and ability to stay healthy at the next level. I don't think the Cardinals should worry about finding a compliment for Tim Hightower, because if they draft a RB in the first round, Hightower will have to compliment the new featured back.


Jason Williams
WIU Athletics

The Cardinals need some youth in their defensive front-seven. Who could be the top bargain/sleeper pick at either outside linebacker or defensive end for Arizona in the second or third rounds?

I don't think you can say a player is a sleeper if they're selected in the second or third round, but a player I really like is Hawaii DE David Veikune. He plays with a high motor and possesses elite athleticism and strength. He's getting lost in the shuffle with all of the other great hybrids, but he has a chance to be an impact performer as a rookie. Another player to keep an eye on is Western Illinois LB Jason Williams. At 6-foot-1, 241 pounds, Williams impressed at his Pro Day and ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, benched 225 pounds 26 times and demonstrated a 39-inch vertical, not to mention a strong showing during positional drills. The interesting element about Williams is that he didn't receive an invitation to the Scouting Combine. But after a good senior season and a strong offseason, he could find himself to be a mid-to-late third round selection.

And how about at the center position?

The center class this year is the deepest in recent memory, but unfortunately for the Cardinals, by the time they're on the clock in the second round, the top three – Alex Mack (California), Eric Wood (Louisville) and Max Unger (Oregon) – will most likely be off the board. However, it's possible that the Cardinals will decide to address the center position in the first round by selecting Mack, and in turn use their second round pick to draft a running back like Shonn Greene (Iowa) or Javon Ringer (Michigan State).

Leonard Pope hasn't become the tight end the Cardinals would like to him to be. What do you think went wrong and can he make a comeback for the organization?

Pope looked the part of a potentially dominant tight end coming out of Georgia, but he hasn't been able to put it all together. He has great size, tremendous physical tools and the ability to stretch the field. It doesn't help Pope that he's surrounded by superior talent at the wide receiver position who dominate the ball, which means very few opportunities for him to be a part of the offense. The problem is when he gets an opportunity to shine, he's too inconsistent and doesn't play physically enough to be an elite pass catching TE. He's still a talented player, but by signing a one-year contract this offseason and turning 26 in September, it appears that Pope has one last chance to prove his worth.


Early Doucet
Getty

What will it take for WR Early Doucet to break onto the scene next season? Why are you confident he'll be a big contributor?

There has to be an opening for Doucet to make an impact, and with the possibility of Anquan Boldin being dealt before the draft or on draft day, Doucet's opportunity to emerge could come next season. Doucet has a similar skill set to Boldin; he runs strong, physical routes, flashes soft hands and has the ability to create after the catch. Doucet has the potential to be the same kind of receiver Boldin has become - he just needs playing time.

Now that Kurt Warner is signed on for two more years, what do you think the best route for Matt Leinart is? Should he be asking for a trade experience a couple more years as a backup? Does he still have a future as a starting quarterback?

Leinart will turn 26 in May and has done very little to prove he's anything close to what he was at USC. But I still believe he's a talented quarterback, and he could become a starter in the NFL; I just don't think it will be with the Cardinals. Sometimes players need a change of scenery, and for Leinart, a change is needed. If that trade occurs prior to the season, who knows, but for Leinart to realize his full potential, he has to show the commitment necessary to handle the assignment of a field general.


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