Report Card: Cardinals 2008 Rookie Class

Report cards are in and it is time to review the performance of last year's draft class. Hopefully giving a glimpse of what is in store for the approaching season. Since the arrival of Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals have managed to cure their bumbling draft habits. Which rookies made the Honor Roll? Who has mandatory summer school? Tyson Qualls turns in the final grade for each draft pick.

Honor Roll:

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Round 1, Grade: A+

Ro'Cro started off slow, but after being given the full time starting nod by week 9, he exploded onto the scene. He had four interceptions in his final seven games and secured two more picks in the postseason. Ro'Cro proved that he belonged in the NFL after spending his college days at the Div. II school, Tennessee State. The Cardinals now have an extremely talented secondary with Antrel Rolle, Adrian Wilson, and Ro'Cro patrolling the grass between the sidelines.

DE Calais Campbell Round 2, Grade: B

Campbell contributed on special teams and appeared in all 16 games for the Cardinals. Look for Campbell to increase his role in 2009 with the departure of Antonio Smith. Playing almost exclusively on special teams, Campbell mustered 28 tackles and a forced fumble for the 2008 campaign. Campbell also provided valuable depth to the Cardinals defensive front line.

RB Tim Hightower Round 5: Grade B-

Hightower had a season filled with peaks and valleys. Rushing for 109 yards and a TD in the first start of his NFL career was definitely the high point of his season. Unfortunately for Cardinal fans, he struggled to maintain that level of performance for the entire season. His short-yard ability, however, was consistent for the length of the season. He gave the Cardinals that extra punch, when Edgerrin James was clearly struggling.

The true ability of Hightower disappeared after his first start and did not reappear until the playoff game against the Carolina Panthers. If Hightower is going to maintain a viable role in the offense, he must commit to consistency in 2009.

Summer School Required:

WR Early Doucet Round 3: Grade C+

Doucet was hampered by injuries for the majority of training camp and never really seemed to hit stride in his first NFL season. Being wedged behind the trio of Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, and Steve Breaston only made the situation worse. He did step up in his only opportunity for decent playing time with an impressive six-catch, 42-yard showing after the loss of Anquan Boldin. As the status of Boldin hangs in the balance, Doucet has to be focused on improving his chances of snagging the slot receiving position.

DE Kenny Iwebema Round 4: Grade D+

Appearing in 13 games for the Cardinals, Iwebema managed only three tackles. He did show promise and should improve upon his rookie season. Similar to Campbell, the loss of Antonio Smith has provided a window for Iwebema to increase his playing time.

DE Chris Harrington Round 6: Grade F

Harrington lasted until the end of the preseason and then was cut from the Cardinals practice squad. He was later signed by the Cincinnati Bengals and made one tackle the entire season. Granted, he was a sixth-round pick, but his contribution to the Cardinals was nonexistent.

G Brandon Keith Round 7: F

Keith made no appearances for the Cardinals, but did work hard in practice and improve his chances of playing in 2009. Keith is a project player who needs to make drastic strides if he is going to be on the Cardinals roster at the start of 2009.


CardinalsSource Top Stories