I'm revisiting the pre-combine item making sense of first-round choices for NFC West teams, adding post-combine thoughts, concluding with the Cardinals:
Mel's pick: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
My pre-combine thoughts: This pick would make a great deal of sense. Veteran Bryan Robinson has exceeded expectations as the Cardinals' nose tackle, but he'll be 36 in June. The Cardinals have committed more fully to a Steelers-style defense, and that makes nose tackles more valuable. No complaints with this pick.
My post-combine followup: Williams made a positive impression at the combine and it's fair to wonder if another team running a 3-4 defense might select him somewhere among the top 25 choices. Arizona used the 33rd choice of the 2007 draft for nose tackle Alan Branch, with disappointing results (Branch has appeared more comfortable at end). That's one reason why the Williams choice would make sense. Another: The Cardinals might lose linebacker Karlos Dansby in free agency. They expect young linebackers Will Davis and Cody Brown to play more and possibly start in 2010. Those guys will need protection in front of them and a nose tackle with Williams' credentials could certainly help. The Cardinals would look good on paper with Darnell Dockett, Williams and Calais Campbell across the defensive line. I could also see the Cardinals strengthening their offensive line in the first round. Idaho guard Mike Iupati looked the part at the combine. He carries 331 pounds very well and his size might help Arizona continue building its ground game.