The Arizona Cardinals A Playoff Contender

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The Arizona Cardinals arrived in Phoenix is 1988 and while the city has hosted many a big football game including Super Bowls and NCAA National Championship games, their football team has been a pathetic joke. While they teased the fans briefly with Jake the Snake Plummer and a playoff appearance, the Cardinals have not measured up to the success of the Phoenix Suns or the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Now though there is a loud ring of optimism as the Cardinals have what some consider the best receiving corps in football with Bolden, Fitzgerald and Johnson, a Super Bowl veteran quarterback in Kurt Warner, a talented and young defense and a great kicking game. They added future hall of fame running back Edgerrin James via the free agency route and now have landed former USC star quarterback Matt Leinart. Insiders suggest it is just a matter of time before Leinart is flinging passes and handing off to star players like he did as a Trojan.

They also scooped up a huge and talented tight end in Leonard Pope from Georgia and USC guard Taitusi Lutui, so could the Cardinals be the next Pittsburgh Steeler quick turnaround?

The Dallas Cowboys followed a familiar pattern when it comes to Bill Parcells teams by building a winner through defense. After choosing defenders with six of their eight picks in 2005, the Cowboys were defensive-minded again in 2006 with four of their first six picks going to defense — Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter, Grambling State end Jason Hatcher, Florida State safety Pat Watkins and Louisville tackle Montavious Stanley.

Considering what the Cowboys got last year in the draft on defense — three starters in linebacker DeMarcus Ware and ends Marcus Spears and Chris Canty — Jones believes the Cowboys are headed down that path after what they accomplished the past two days.

Carpenter was clearly the gem of the 2006 draft class that can be described as solid more so than spectacular.

Picked 18th overall, the versatile Carpenter is expected to complement Ware and form an imposing outside linebacker tandem for the future. While the third-round pick Hatcher is a relative unknown, he is thought to have a tremendous upside.

Some scouts believe he can be more dominant in the NFL than he was in college. Jones said he compares favorably to defensive tackle Leon Lett, who developed into a force for the Cowboys after being a seventh round pick out of Emporia (Kan.) State in 1991.

The Cowboys traded up in the fifth round to get Watkins, who is rangy and has good ball coverage skills. He could fill their need for a true free safety, although he is expected to make an immediate impact on special teams.

The 6-foot-2, 314-pound Stanley should provide depth at nose tackle behind starter Jason Ferguson, giving the Cowboys another space clogging run stopper in the middle off their 3-4 defense.

How about the Denver Broncos and coach Mike Shanahan who is known as a guru in regards to developing quarterbacks? He takes a quarterback Jay Cutler who many experts believe is better then both Vince Young and Matt Leinart and shocked the rest of the NFL, who did not see this coming. Denver has another John Elway in their stable!

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