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Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Need for numbers: Cardinals

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The moves teams make before the draft can better define their needs during the draft. Once the draft is finished, we'll have a better idea which positions teams still might target by adding undrafted free agents.

I'll start with a look at positions where the Cardinals still need depth.

Arizona Cardinals

Signed players: 64

Unsigned restricted free agents: 1

Draft choices: 7

Signed player limit: 80

Note: Draft choices will not count against the 80-man roster limit until they sign, meaning Arizona could initially sign up to 15 undrafted free agents without exceeding the limit, assuming RFA Deuce Lutui signs. Arizona's roster count of 65 signed players and unsigned RFAs mirrors the league average.

Positional thoughts: This is shaping up as a defensive draft for Arizona, at least early, but the team still needs numbers on offense.

Arizona, with six wide receivers, is one of seven teams carrying fewer than seven at the position. The other 25 teams are carrying 8.3 on average. The Cardinals will want to improve their numbers at this position.

The Cardinals technically have three quarterbacks until they move Kurt Warner off the roster. They effectively have only two, joining the Jaguars, Chargers, Eagles, Panthers and Saints among teams with fewer than three quarterbacks planning on playing in 2010. Brian St. Pierre is one potential option as a free agent. Having an extra third-round choice could give the team some flexibility to maneuver for a quarterback (or any player).

Arizona has nine defensive linemen. Teams running 3-4 defenses are carrying 9.5 on average. We know Arizona wants to add a nose tackle in the draft. Expect the team to improve its numbers at this position.

Inside linebacker is a need, but the Cardinals' overall numbers at linebacker -- 11 -- are strong even relative to counts for other teams running 3-4 defenses. The average is 9.9 for these teams.

The chart shows Cardinals position counts this week compared to averages for teams running 3-4 defenses and all teams. The asterisk next to the Cardinals' quarterback count acknowledges Warner's pending retirement.