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Practice-squad update: Cardinals

9/1/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals' practice squad is coming together with the signing of seven players. One spot remains open. Five of the seven spent training camp with Arizona. Two others, receiver Onrea Jones and cornerback Wilrey Fontenot, were elsewhere.

The chart shows every Cardinals player with practice-squad eligibility.

Re-signing Pat Ross to the practice squad gives the Cardinals needed depth at the position. The team couldn't justify setting aside a spot on its 53-man roster for him, and that made sense. Ross isn't one of the Cardinals' 53 best players.

But with starting center Al Johnson sidelined for the short term, the team wasn't going to proceed with only Lyle Sendlein at the position.

The Cardinals
liked offensive lineman Elliot Vallejo's potential enough to carry him on the 53-man roster. They also thought linebacker Ali Highsmith, though undrafted, played well enough this summer to catch scouts' attention around the league.

This is the tough part for NFL teams. They tend to overvalue their own practice-squad-eligible prospects -- not enough to sign them to the 53-man roster, but enough to sweat the time it takes for these players to pass through waivers. The fear isn't justified most of the time.

Lance Long had a very good rookie camp for the Cardinals. No one signed him. Jamar Adams and Michael Bumpus had strong camps for Seattle. The 49ers like running back Thomas Clayton and receiver Dominique Zeigler.

Yet, these players made it through waivers. Other teams can sign them at any time, but teams get comfortable with their own players. They rarely sign players from another team's practice squad. When they do, it's usually a short-term fix.