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For Draft, Cards Ready To Wait


The Cardinals are scheduled to make eight picks during the 2009 draft.

Waiting may be the theme of the day.

The Cardinals' decision-makers will arrive early Saturday for the first round of the NFL draft, and phone calls will be taken. With a player like Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin openly available in trade, teams are going to call.

But that may be the extent of the excitement for a franchise picked 31st in the first round, barring any movement. Never before have the Cards picked so low – in 1976, the Cards took defensive tackle Mike Dawson 22nd, which was their previous long wait – but then again, such is a small price to reach the Super Bowl.

In a draft where many analysts believe the talent level does not significantly



]( separate itself from the players going around the fifth pick to the 35th pick, waiting is not a bad thing.

"I think, and this is just a hunch, at there are going to be a couple of players (available) that we like, that we have highly rated on our board," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I think that's a good thing because in some of the (positions) where I think there may be an early run, like offensive tackle, those aren't something we're really looking at early."

The Cardinals may actually be able to sit back and watch some fireworks as many teams try to maneuver for the players they want, or perhaps try and trade back to avoid paying huge contracts for players who may not warrant them. This draft has the potential to be the most chaotic of recent memory, with rumors flying about where USC Mark Sanchez will be taken (and what team may trade up to get him) or what the wild card of the top three – Kansas City – will end up doing in head coach Todd Haley's first draft.

The Cards likely won't be directly involved in the machinations at the top of the draft, but eventually it might have an impact.

"Depending on who is taken where and how many players are pushed down to us, it could have a residual effect," general manager Rod Graves said. "We will have to see. It's just hard to speculate."

There is little secret over the Cardinals' top needs. The team needs a running back and if it gets one, will be all but a lock to release veteran Edgerrin James soon. With age creeping up on many of their main candidates at rush end/outside linebacker – Chike Okeafor, Bertrand Berry and Clark Haggans – the Cards also need to look in that direction.

Running back has some quality candidates in the first round. Georgia's Knowshon Moreno figures to be gone by the time the Cards select, but Connecticut's Donald Brown or perhaps Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells could be an option. Northern Illinois' Larry English could be a potential linebacker, although the rumor mill says English's stock is rising as the draft nears.

Besides running back and linebacker (the latter of which could be addressed a couple times among the team's eight draft picks), the Cards also figure to seriously consider getting interior offensive line depth, a tight end and defensive line depth.

The Boldin trade talks also could play a role. Graves made it clear Friday the team had received only one offer – deemed not "significant at all" by Graves – and that Boldin was likely going to stay a Cardinal, despite rumors debunked by the team that its asking price for Boldin was reduced.

Trade discussion about Boldin could intensify during the draft, Graves acknowledged.

"We'll just have to evaluate things as they go," Graves said.

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 4/24/09.

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