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Toler Another DRC?

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The Cards took St. Paul's cornerback Gregory Toler in the fourth round.

The Cardinals went after a small-school cornerback in the first round of the 2008 draft despite questions about the competition he faced.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie turned out to be pretty good, however.

Sunday, the Cards tried it again in the less-pressurized spot of the fourth round, taking cornerback Gregory Toler of tiny St. Paul's College in Virginia – the first St. Paul's player ever to be drafted.

Toler is a 24-year-old who spent time after high school playing semi-pro football

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before finding his way to St. Paul's, but some have made comparisons to the DRC possibilities.

"Sure, it does concern you when you look at the level of competition, but at the end of the day, a football player is a football player and that is what you are looking for," defensive backs coach Teryl Austin said.

Toler, 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, isn't considered the same prospect as DRC. His draft status alone showed that. Considered extremely raw, Toler has run a sub-4.4 40-yard dash, and he believes he has the ability to become a great NFL cornerback.

He'll have an uphill climb right away. The Cards have four solid cornerbacks already – DRC, Bryant McFadden, Rod Hood and Ralph Brown. But they also have a new guy with supreme self-confidence.

"There is always room for improvement," said Toler, who had 14 career interceptions at St. Paul's. "But I just know, with my possibilities, I can be one of the best in the game."

Toler has worked hard and the right away to get from Washington, D.C., to the NFL, however. His father died in prison after being arrested on drug charges, but Toler – who acknowledged he didn't take high school seriously enough – not only has made it to the NFL but will receive a degree in criminal justice May 10.

Toler visited 19 different teams in the spring, including the Cardinals. He said he "liked the whole environment."

He also is well aware of the Rodgers-Cromartie comparisons.

"Dominique is a great player," Toler said. "People say we play a similar game. People try and shoot down the guys from the small school because they say you don't play against the top talent or you are raw. But I just want to show people, we have taken the same route and hopefully I can do as well as he did – or maybe even better."

Austin said when Toler worked out at Richmond's pro day, he ran in the low 4.4s in rainy and windy conditions. "You can tell he can run," Austin said.

Toler's learning curve isn't a known commodity yet, Austin said, because he hasn't practiced yet. But Austin added that Toler's skill set is such the Cards have confidence he has the potential for success.

"Whenever you have an opportunity to add a cornerback to your roster, those guys are hard to find," Austin said. "You are going to go against guys like Fitz and Q all the time."


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 4/26/09.

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