Going into this year’s draft, the Cardinals needed a pass-rusher. Of this I was certain.
Last year, the Cardinals were in the bottom half of the league (20) in sacks/pass attempt and #22 in pass defense. They have good, veteran leadership on the edge with Bertrand Berry, Chike Okeafor, Clark Haggans and Travis LaBoy, but this is an area of the field where they desperately needed to get younger and more athletic.
It seems indisputable to me the most room for improvement for the Cardinals was on the defensive side of the ball, especially their pass-rush. I know they would have loved a pass-rusher for the last 2:37 of Super Bowl 43.
Big Red has a secondary that is shaping up nicely with the development of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the addition of Bryant McFadden, and Adrian Wilson roaming the secondary. But even the best, most talented DB’s need help, and there’s no better way to provide that than to knock the wind out of the opponent’s quarterback.
There are basically three ways to pressure the QB in the NFL: have gifted pass-rushers, pressure by scheme, and covering receivers until the QB’s ribs get split. The simplest of these – gifted pass rushers – is the hardest to find. Great pass rushers are coveted commodities, make millions of dollars, and don’t grow in orchards.
That’s why the Cards needed Larry English with the 31st pick in this year’s draft or somebody like him. The problem was, English was picked #16 overall by the San Diego Chargers and somebody like him didn’t apply when the unthinkable happened.
The biggest freak in the draft was sitting in front of Big Red at 31: Chris “Beanie” Wells. Watching Beanie Wells run around the football field is like watching the guy at the county fair drive six-inch spikes into his face; it’s just so freaky.
Coming into the weekend, the Cardinals needed a running back, too. Do the math.
This was a pick the Cards couldn’t pass over, especially when Larry English and other notable pass-rushers were no longer on the board. They had to pick Beanie Wells; he’s just too much of a freak with way too much upside. They did what they had to do.
Although defense was the side of the ball with the greatest need, I am ecstatic they got Wells. Donald Brown? We need a pass-rusher. Knowshon Moreno? We need somebody screaming off the edge. Beanie Wells? We can scheme our way into sacks.
The freak factor is something that cannot be ignored. In my estimation, there were two-freaks in this draft class: Brian Orakpo (DE, Texas) and Chris “Beanie” Wells. The Cardinals got one of them.
6’1 and 235 lbs. of 4.5-thunder cannot be ignored; and it wasn’t.
In the world of draft picks, freaks always win.