The Cardinals' top two draft picks -- LB
Daryl Washington (left) and NT Dan Williams will play immediate roles on defense starting in St. Louis Sunday.
Already, Daryl Washington – the second-round draft pick – is getting more publicity than Dan Williams – who was the first-rounder.
And to think, if Williams, as a nose tackle, does his job this season, that will likely only make Washington, an inside linebacker, more famous. After all, Williams’ main purpose is to occupy offensive linemen so guys like Washington can speed to the ball and make the tackle.
“It’s cool,” the affable Williams said with a grin. “Part of football. On the nose it’s about eating up blocks and controlling your gap. It’s fine. (Darryl) knows we’re holding people off. His job is to make the plays, my job to hold them off of him. We’re both ready to do our part. As long as he gets them down and we get off the field, that works for me.”
Washington, coming off an impressive preseason as he went against the Ken Whisenhunt odds of cracking the starting lineup as a rookie, isn’t about to try and steal all of Williams’ thunder.
“They all say it starts up front,” Washington said. “You can see he is playing well, holding those guys off. Those guys double team him, he gets them and makes it easier for me.”
The Cardinals need their two top picks to make an impact sooner rather than later. Washington may be the lone starter for now – Williams is playing in a rotation with starter
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said both players have had a good camp and preseason. Williams may be more unnoticed, Davis acknowledged. “He doesn’t have the wow plays,” Davis said, “but he’s a nose guard – they don’t have the wow plays.”
“Dan has done everything we asked, played the techniques we needed him to, he’s made some tackles and he does move laterally well and get in on a lot of plays,” Davis added. “Daryl is coming along great. He has earned a starting role. We will continue to grow him. He is talented – and he’s young.”
Both young players, given their draft status, will continue to garner attention too.
“He’ll get his opportunities just like I am,” Washington said. “(We will) prove ’em right or prove ’em wrong.”
But there is a chance it will be
“I have a lot of respect for Stephen and what he has gone through to get to this point,” Whisenhunt said. “He probably had as good a training camp as anybody. I think part of it is being completely healthy, but he fought through a lot of things last year and he never lost his will, never lost his competitive edge.”
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