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Cardinals’ Daryl Washington a rising star

It’s hard to find silver linings even days after the Cardinals’ 17-3 loss in St. Louis.

But in spite of the poor offensive line play, non-existent run game and quarterback Kevin Kolb’s inability to take advantage of offensive opportunities during the first half against the Rams, there was one standout in the team’s first loss of 2012 — linebacker Daryl Washington.

Washington, who recorded his team-leading fourth sack of the season against Sam Bradford and Co., has often been overshadowed by household names like Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson and Calais Campbell.

Well, not anymore.

According to ProFootballFocus, not only did the third-year pro from TCU account for half of Arizona’s total pressures (6) against Bradford, but his statistical run defense grade for the season is right on par with the elite middle linebackers in the NFL.

In addition to leading the team in sacks, the former second round pick also leads the way with 39 total tackles.

Cardinal fans won’t have to worry about Washington fleeing for other pastures any time soon. The heart of the Arizona defense is under team control until 2017, after signing a six-year extension in September.