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Monday, March 16, 2009
On The Clock: Arizona Cardinals

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Team needs: Running back, outside linebacker, offensive line, tight end

 
  Charles LeClaire/Getty Images
  If available, it would be difficult for the Cardinals to pass on Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy.

Dream scenario: The Cardinals need a franchise running back. Finding one with the 31st overall choice would help Arizona at quarterback, along the offensive line and on defense. Ohio State's Chris Wells, Georgia's Knowshon Moreno or Pittsburgh's LeSean McCoy would be logical candidates if they remained available at No. 31. The Cardinals are undergoing a makeover at the position. Edgerrin James appears on his way out. J.J. Arrington is already gone. Tim Hightower showed some ability as a rookie, but he did not distinguish himself as the answer. A renewed commitment to the ground game helped the Cardinals advance through the NFC playoffs last season. A more dynamic threat in the backfield would take that running game to a higher level.

Plan B: The Cardinals are in good position to help their roster even if one of the top running backs isn't available to them in the first round. They could use a young outside linebacker. This draft appears strong in that area. They could use help at tight end, another position considered to have depth. And if one of the top centers is on the board -- California's Alex Mack comes to mind -- Arizona could always go in that direction.

Scouts Inc.'s take: "It all depends on what happens with Anquan Boldin. If they do deal him by draft day, that would yield a first-round pick or more. I think Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm deep down have their Steeler roots and they would love to be more balanced. They are good coaches. They realize their strengths. Their running backs are atrocious, so they go with what they do well. But if they deal Boldin, that might give them the resources to become a balanced offense. At the minimum, they are taking a back and they probably do that regardless. If you have more picks, you take a back and a center or tackle. Grimm is a great coach. Give him someone to mold. [Left tackle] Mike Gandy got destroyed in the Super Bowl and you are not going to have a power running game with Lyle Sendlein at center." -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.

Who has final say: Team president Michael Bidwill and general manager Rod Graves make the call in consultation with Whisenhunt. Steve Keim heads the college scouting department.

Now on the clock: The Tennessee Titans, March 17.

Previous On the Clock: Pittsburgh Steelers. The team-by-team series.