Given Graves and Whisenhunt's belief in drafting value over an immediate need, there are numerous scenarios that could occur. Two positions where Arizona may instill this strategy are at cornerback or in the trenches on the defensive line. The Cardinals have been fortunate to satisfy both factors in the past two drafts after CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and RB Beanie Wells fell to them in the first round but the team might not be so lucky again this year.
After predicting who'll be available when Arizona goes on the clock and who it might have interest in, four candidates look to have a good shot at having their names called with the 26th pick. Two outside linebackers, Michigan's Brandon Graham and Sean Weatherspoon from Missouri make the list along with Indiana OT Rodger Saffold and DT Dan Williams from Tennessee.
Aside from Williams, the other player of this group most likely to be unavailable at pick No. 26 would be Graham. However, given how Rodgers-Cromartie and Wells both fell into the Cardinals' lap, that notion might be developing into a trend in the desert. Graham would provide Arizona with another edge pass rusher. Meanwhile, Weatherspoon possesses a similar skill-set as Graham and could be the team's backup option is Graham is indeed off the board.
Saffold is one of the drafts fastest rising players in large part because of his size and versatility. Saffold, 6-foot-4, 316 pounds, can play both guard and tackle and could come in extremely handy for offensive line coach Russ Grimm. The Cardinals' offensive line is still a work in progress and current starters such as RT Levi Brown and OG Deuce Lutui have struggled at times. Meanwhile, LT Jeremy Bridges takes over for the departed Mike Gandy and is still relatively unproven.
Aside from the names above, wild cards like CB Kyle Wilson from Boise St or Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham could surface on draft day. Wilson proved to be a productive playmaker in the secondary for the Broncos and is also a threat on special teams. Gresham could develop into the Cardinals long-term solution at tight end but the team is expected to focus elsewhere this early in the draft.
Unless a prospect projected to go in the early to middle of Round 1 drops all the way to pick No. 26, look for Weatherspoon to garner strong consideration from the Arizona front office. Weatherspoon will provide Cardinals' defensive coordinator Bill Davis with yet another pass rusher off the edge and fulfill the team's demand for value at that point in the draft.
First-Round Prediction: Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri
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