General manager Rod Graves was recalling in his mind was the “most tense” discussion the current brass had had in the draft room — the debate about whether to take running back LaRod Stephens-Howling in the seventh round of the 2009 draft.
In hindsight, the debate seems crazy. Not only has Stephens-Howling — The Hyphen to those who know and cover him in the media — been worth a late pick, he’s been incredibly valuable as a special teams player and in certain packages on offense. But he is only 5-foot-6, and Graves was less than convinced. “I’m glad (director of player personnel) Steve Keim and coach (Ken) Whisenhunt stepped up to say, ‘Rod, this guy can really help our football team,’ ” Graves said. “Jokingly, I say that, but we do have good discussions, healthy discussions.”
Keim was talking about Stephens-Howling while talking about the Cards’ draft cards (story on the homepage by the end of the day). By the time the sixth and seventh round come up, the draft grades have shrunk. But Stephens-Howling was noticeable that day.
“He was sticking out like a sore thumb because he had a grade of 70, which is a huge grade for a 5-foot-6 running back who didn’t even start at Pitt,” Keim said. “That’s basically a third-round grade on our scale, a grade of a guy who would either be an eventual starter or a significant role player. That’s what that stands for.
“To get a guy in the seventh round that have a grade like that, those are the ones you really get excited about, as opposed to the Patrick Petersons who, your two boys and my six-year old could tell you he could play.”
Tags: draft, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Rod Graves, Steve Keim
Posted in Blog | 18 Comments »