Defensive end Cody Brown (right) was the Cards' second-round pick Saturday. (AP photo)
The Cardinals needed a running back and got one on the first day of the NFL draft Saturday. They needed a pass rusher, and they got him too.
They also needed to figure out whether wide receiver Anquan Boldin would draw any trade interest – and that too was answered.
While the Cardinals took Connecticut defensive end Cody Brown with their second-round pick, adding him to first-round selection Beanie Wells, the Boldin trade talks never really took root. He shockingly drew zero serious interest in trade talks, much less any serious offers, and remains a Cardinal as general manager
The Boldin scenario admittedly surprised the Cardinals, although both Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt had long maintained they didn't want Boldin going anywhere.
"We kept reiterating to the few teams that called that our position was to listen," Graves said. "We were not ever taking a proactive move with respect to a trade, but we were certainly willing to listen and in just about all cases, we didn't get a response back."
Whisenhunt wasn't sure why Boldin didn't draw more interest.
"I think some of (the calls) were because there were reports out there we had dropped our demands and people were trying to verify that was the case and we said that was not the case," Whisenhunt said. "There's been so much publicity about what he's worth. … I can't speculate as to whether it was (contract demands) or what it was. Like I've said, I've never changed my thoughts about Anquan and what he means to our team and what type of football player he is."
Boldin's spot on the team is a known factor. Where Wells and Brown fit – at least at first – may take some time to figure out. Brown will be turned into an outside linebacker for their 3-4 alignment. He'll have a learning curve, as will Wells.
"From the standpoint of not having to come in here and do it relieves a great burden for them just to start out with," Whisenhunt said. "That gives them the opportunity to grow in the position. We saw the results of that with (2008 first-round pick) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
"In my experience, that's been the best, when you make these guys earn their chance to get on the field."
Brown, 6-foot-2 and a listed 244 pounds (although Whisenhunt said Brown weighed more than 250 pounds in workouts leading up to the draft), is a pass rusher who had 11 sacks in 13 games as a senior.
"I'm very confident about playing outside linebacker in the 3-4," Brown said. "I feel like I can cover, feel like I can rush the passer and feel like all my abilities are pretty much intact to play the position."
Brown said he did practice coverage in college although it wasn't used in the games. Whisenhunt said there is always a concern about an end making the transition to linebacker in the NFL but "what you do see from (Brown) is very good athletic skill, whether it's rushing the passer, chasing a play or making a tackle."
"We don't have any illusions he'll be the best at it ever when he gets here, but that's something I think he'll improve at."
The Cards already have a quartet of veterans – Bertrand Berry, Chike Okeafor, Travis LaBoy and Clark Haggans – who can play ahead of Brown. Wells will be behind Tim Hightower and Jason Wright at least initially, and there is always a chance another back could eventually be added whenever Edgerrin James is released.
The Cardinals have six picks left on the second day of the draft. Whisenhunt said the Cards had received several calls asking about the possibility of trading on the first day, but the Cards didn't want to move when both their targeted players were available when they were on the clock.
Trading one way or the other could happen on day two, however, Whisenhunt said.
"It just comes down to the players (left) on our board," Whisenhunt said.
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 4/25/09.