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Cards ‘pleased’ with draft picks

It got what needed: depth in secondary, size in offensive line

TEMPE – The Arizona Cardinals looked for depth in the secondary and some serious size on the offensive line on the second day of the NFL draft.

The NFC champions chose safety Rashad Johnson of Alabama in the third round Sunday, then cornerback Greg Toler of NCAA Division II St. Paul’s College in Virginia in the fourth.

In the fifth round, the Cardinals went big – very big – selecting 6-foot-7, 364-pound offensive guard Herman Johnson of LSU.

Defensive end Will Davis of Illinois was Arizona’s sixth-round pick.

The Cardinals had two selections in the seventh and final round, choosing running back-kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling of Pittsburgh and offensive guard Trevor Canfield of Cincinnati.

Davis, like second-round pick Cody Brown of Connecticut, is projected as an outside linebacker in the Cardinals’ 3-4 system.

The selections followed Saturday’s first two rounds, when the Cardinals chose running back Chris “Beanie” Wells in the first round, then Brown in the second.

“I think we did a very good job of addressing our needs and getting good football players,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We didn’t reach for anyone.”

Wells had been projected to go somewhere in the middle of the round, if not sooner.

“If you could have told me going into this draft that we would have had a chance to get him with our 31st pick, I would have been very excited,” Whisenhunt said. “Needless to say, we’re very pleased. He’s been a very productive running back in a very good conference.”

In three seasons with the Buckeyes, Wells, a 6-foot-1, 237-pound back from Akron, Ohio, rushed for 3,382 yards, averaging 5.78 yards per attempt. He gained 1,609 in 2007 and, despite missing the three games, gained 1,197 yards as a junior last season.

Brown said he’s “very confident” he can play outside linebacker for the Cardinals.

Whisenhunt thought so, too.

“You never know for sure, but what you do see from him is very good athletic skill,” Whisenhunt said, “whether it’s rushing the passer, chasing a play, making a tackle. So those are indicators he should be able to do it.”

A walk-on running back for the Crimson Tide from the small town of Sulligent, Ala., Rashad Johnson moved to safety and became team captain his final two seasons on a defense that last year ranked third in the nation.

He was named Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year by the Little Rock Touchdown Club and was a second-team Associated Press All-American as a senior.

The Cardinals already have Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson and Antrel Rolle at safety, but defensive coordinator Bill Davis said the team uses two more at the position when the team is in its “dime” and two-minute packages.

Johnson will compete with Aaron Francisco and Matt Ware for a backup job.

Toler, the first St. Paul’s player to be drafted by the NFL, was a high school standout in the Washington, D.C., area who couldn’t make it to college because of poor grades.

Instead, he was a storeroom clerk at JCPenney’s and played for a semipro team before going to St. Paul’s, a small school in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where he worked on his academics and became eligible to play. He said he will receive his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice next month.

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