Q&A with Draft Analyst Chris Steuber, Part I

Scout.com Draft Analyst Chris Steuber answers eight questions about the Arizona Cardinals draft picks, one on each. Was Chris Wells really the best running back pick for the Cardinals? How will he work with Tim Hightower? Why was Rashad Johnson too good to pass up? How long will it take Greg Toler to be ready to contribute in the NFL? Find out inside.

Editor's Note: Please check back tomorrow for Part II

Amberly Dressler Was Chris "Beanie" Wells the best suited back for the Cardinals when they were on the board at No. 31? Do you think Wells can beat out Tim Hightower for the starting job by opening day?

Chris Steuber: Wells was the best running back on the board at No. 31 and the only running back available who was worthy of a first round pick. In saying that, Pittsburgh's LeSean McCoy was probably a better fit for the Cardinals because of his versatility. But to take him over Wells would have been a questioned reach. Tim Hightower is a good back, but he's not on the same level as Wells. Wells has the potential to be one of the best running backs in the NFL, while Hightower is a nice complimentary back who catches the ball well and is effective in short-yardage situations. Even though I think Wells is far superior to Hightower; Hightower will most likely be the starter on opening day, because of his familiarity with the offense. But I expect Wells to assume the role at some point this season.

AD: Cody Brown adds youth and pass-rushing skills to the Cardinals defensive front-seven. Where do you see him best suited in the Cardinals ever revolving defensive scheme?


Cody Brown
(Getty)

CS: Of all the hybrids that were available in the draft, Cody Brown exemplifies that label better than anyone. He's the ultimate tweener; a tremendous pass rusher who can create a lot of noise in the backfield. At Connecticut, he primarily played at defensive end, but because of his size, he will make the transition to linebacker. He's best suited to play the WILL linebacker position. It will give him the ability to create off the edge and use his natural athleticism to get to the quarterback.

AD: The starters are pretty set at safety. Why was Rashad Johnson too good to pass up?

CS: The Cardinals are set at safety this season, but with Adrian Wilson, who will turn 30 in October, being a free agent next year - it's unclear if the Cardinals will resign him. I'm sure Wilson is a high priority for the Cardinals, but if the asking price is too high, having a young safety like Rashad Johnson waiting in the wings is a cheaper alternative. Johnson doesn't have the same physical approach to the game that Wilson does, but he's a sound defender who has great instincts and playmaking ability. He was a solid third round choice and a selection that will benefit the Cardinals in the future.

AD: After playing small school ball at St. Paul's College, how long do you think it will take for Greg Toler to be ready to contribute in the NFL?

CS: That's a tough question, because it all depends on how Greg Toler competes in training camp, plays during the preseason and develops over the course of the year. Anytime a team drafts a small school player, especially a mid-round guy, there's going to be times where it appears he's ascending, but then all of a sudden he crashes into the rookie wall. Toler has a lot of talent, but what he needs more than anything else is quality coaching. He has to learn the system, get comfortable and find his place in the secondary.


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