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Drafting for defense: Cardinals

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The premise: The Cardinals' defense has fared better than its NFC West counterparts, but a collapse against the Jets in Week 5 raised questions.

A closer look: The chart shows the last 10 defensive players Arizona drafted in the first three rounds.

The facts: Four of the 10 are starters and two others, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Calais Campbell, have shown promise. Karlos Dansby is the most versatile player on a defense predicated on interchangeable parts. Antrel Rolle moved to free safety after struggling at cornerback. Calvin Pace was becoming productive before leaving in free agency. Alan Branch could join Buster Davis and Darryl Blackstock as outright disappointments.

The future: Dansby is playing under a one-year deal as the team's franchise player. Keeping him past this season is critical for the defense, particularly after Pace signed with the Jets. Rolle also must succeed at safety. Rodgers-Cromartie looks like a sure starter at some point.

Note: Thanks to andrew602az for reminding me that Dockett does indeed have a Pro Bowl on his resume. He wasn't voted to the squad last season, but he was named to the NFC roster to replace the injured Tommie Harris.