Cards finally nab pass rusher in Acho

Posted by Darren Urban on April 30, 2011 – 9:25 am

The Cardinals begin the final day of the draft by getting a pass rusher they needed in Texas linebacker Sam Acho in the fourth round. At 6-foot-1 and 260 pounds, Acho is going to have a transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4, but as a senior, he had nine sacks, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He was also a three-time all-academic selection in the Big 12.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he is a ‘tweener, not quite an OLB but not quite a DE. But with O’Brien Schofield and Will Davis already around (along with veterans Clark Haggans and Joey Porter for now), Acho could be a pass rusher only at first until he is ready for something bigger.

Acho said he actually played OLB the first two years of college before moving to defensive end, so he expects to be able to make the transition. Interestingly, he said he had no specific contact with the Cardinals before the draft, so he was a little surprised. But Acho — who comes across as smart as his resume indicates — clearly is happy to be coming to Arizona.

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47 Responses to “Cards finally nab pass rusher in Acho”

  1. By cardsalltheway on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    What? Ken W. is the biggest…just kidding, it’s about time!

  2. By reap37 on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    So far, it’s hard to argue about the Card’s picks. They all look like they can contribute, however, I still don’t understand the QB strategy. Clearly the team cannot go through another season like last year. Is the brain trust absolutely convinced they can get Kevin Kolb? If so, great. Bulger isn’t going to add much and the current QB’s on the roster are years (if ever) away from any contribution. It looked like a number of QB prospects were better than what we have. Ease my mind please.

  3. By Matt H on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren, why does the blog area on the front page have the Eagles twitter feed? That and how do you think Acho projects as OLB in our system? Does he have starting potential or more of a situational/rotation kind of guy?

  4. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Matt H —

    RE: Twitter feed/Acho

    Try to refresh the browser. That was a problem a few days ago but I am getting the right feed now.

    As for Acho, he’ll need work. But if he works at it, I am sure they think he has a chance to start. Regardless, if he and Schofield pan out, they need a few pass rushers.

  5. By Matt H on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Never mind my twitter feed comment, after 3 days and multiple computers its back to normal… Was showing at work and home, confused the heck out of me.

  6. By mike hadzinski on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    He has calvin pace written all over him draft mark scheraltz in 5 rd or Ricky stanzi

  7. By Joel Soderburg on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Finally! hopefully this guy will be a playa – he’s smart so that helps too. I’m regaining my confidence in their draft decision making…

  8. By Mark in Chandler on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Like the Acho pick. I had him as a 3rd rd so that is good value. He is a faster, more athletic will davis type of person. I see him as a Left OLB. He is solid. Time will tell if he is special. Towsend made the point yesterday that he thinks the defense will provide more sacks. We’ll see.

  9. By Chris B on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    You have to give them credit. They are not reaching for anyone and sticking to their board.
    Graves said they would be aggressive in free agency…
    Darren- If the Cards went crazy in free agency and got a premiere FA pass rusher (even if it cost them a first round pick + in 2012), who’s name is out there now that would fit the bill? (based on last years rules?)

  10. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Chris B —

    RE: FA

    To be honest, I have no idea. I haven’t looked at any lists in weeks.

  11. By AndyStandsUp on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    More than likely, too little , too late. Acho will be a situational pass rusher, IF he can make the transition to OLB.
    BTW, this draft is shaping up eerily similar to the 2005 one:
    Round 1. Patrick Peterson – Antrel Rolle. A CB that will probably be moved to S.
    Round 2. Ryan Williams – JJ Arrington. 5-9 guys that can catch the ball out of the backfield.
    Round 3. Rob Housler – Eric Green. Both multifaceted athletes who shun contact and drop balls.
    Round 4. Daryl Blackstock – Sam Acho. Undersized LBs who will have to prove they can cover.
    Next pick in 2005 was G Elton Brown. 2011- ??
    Only Rolle remains in the league.

  12. By phoenixraven1 on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Great pick! Acho is a beast! I was hoping for Casey Matthews here but this is a great pick. Also he’s bigger than Schofield so this will give us a one-two combo with Will Davis thrown in there and probably Hagans.

  13. By NJAzCardsFan on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, I wish the Cards Front Office would let you post their top 120 list. It would be interesting to compare that to the actual draft. It might calm down some of the naysayers here.
    No chance I guess???

  14. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: 120 board

    Not sure there is an upside there. I wouldn’t count on it.

  15. By Whizzie189 on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Being from Texas i have watched Sam Acho alot, and i can say that he is a really good pick he has exceptional block shedding ability and when he turns the corner he is bad news. Although, Housler i have watched alot of as well and he is utterly a STEAL for anyone i have never seen a tight end with that height and speed as him i watched him in high school here in Texas i was amazed then as well.

  16. By carlo7000 on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    i really like the acho’s pick..he put goo numbers the last 2 years..and i was more impressed about his conference call.looks like great person and really happy to be a cardinal..we need this type of player

  17. By mike hadzinski on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    darren your thought on 5 rd pick

  18. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Mike Hadzinski —

    RE: fifth-round

    Offensive line? ILB?

  19. By Christo on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    If you are drafting BPA and there are more than 120 players being drafted, what good is a list of 120? You aren’t really drafting BPA are you?

  20. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Christo —

    RE: 120

    Your top 120 will not be the same 120 as another team. This team is not going to chase defensive ends the same as 4-3 teams, won’t seriously look at strictly west coast QBs, etc.

  21. By CtownBeatDown on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Fans like andy are so sad. You are really bashing every pick that the cards get. Really?! You do know that this is a fan website, right? You can’t just sit back and let things unfold? I know this might be news to you, but you have no control over who the front office is going to pick. You are not interviewing the players, or watching neverending tape on these kids. Last season was a 100 plus degree season, so i think it is about time you snow bird fans go back up north, that way us real fans can enjoy a football team they have grew up watching. If you don’t like it, go be a patriot fan.:)

  22. By Tommy on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Hello guys,

    Darren can we have your thought on Boston College LB Mark Herzlich?

    Go Cardz.

    PS: Writting from Portugal.

  23. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Tommy —

    RE: Herzlich

    Great story. Not sure if he will make it on this level with what he has been through.

  24. By mike hadzinski on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply


    i was looking @ ILB 2 names stand out Barrett Rudd or Paul Paulinsky from bills you think the cards would push hard for either of their services ?

  25. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Mike H —

    RE: FA ILB

    Wouldn’t be surprised.

  26. By Matt in Philly on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    So far pretty disappointed with this draft. We really needed to get a starting offensive lineman. The last time we drafted an o-lineman in the first three picks was three years ago when we took levi, and before that deuce. So far, we’ve tried to address our running woes by drafting RBs. But without a line, no one will be able to succeed back there.

    I think the Cards are really hedging their bets on free agency, which, for a team that doesn’t like to spend money, is a dangerous thought.

  27. By AndyStandsUp on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Darren, I thought you said no more predictions after the Williams selection?
    Since you think Ben Graham may be gone, I’m thinking punter.

  28. By Christo on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    A Fullback in the 5th round . . . good call.

    Is there any wonder why we were 5 AND 11 last year?

  29. By Chris B on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Another RB…. wow…..

  30. By Chris B on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    BTW Acho sounds smart and he is very well spoken. If his communication skills are any indication of his playing skills, he’ll be good. It would be kinda cool to get 2 good value pass rushers in Schofield and Acho in the 4th round…

  31. By 949Cardsfan on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    UNBELIEVABLE!!!! A FB with the 5 pick. A guy said wouldn’t even get drafted.

  32. By Pheenic Skii on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Awesome pick. Acho is going to make an impact from Day 1.

  33. By Peter in Canada on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Whizzie189 – It is nice to hear from someone who has actually seen some of these guys play. It is tiresome listening to people criticising the front office. A lot of great NFL players come from late draft rounds and from small schools who have flown under the radar. I thought last year’s draft was a good one and I am optimistic this year’s will be the same. We needed help at all the positions where we drafted. Go Cards.

  34. By PWalker on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Nice Pick.

  35. By AndyStandsUp on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, CtownBeatDown, didn’t realize I was being so negative; just thought I was providing a realistic opinion view as the scenes happen.
    And I’m no bandwagon fan. If I spent half the time w/ family as I do on throwing meaningless comments about a game, the world would probably be a better place. But this seems to be my lot in life right now.

    BTW, NE made the steal of the draft with Mallett. HA!

  36. By DirtybirD on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren, do you know how much the Cardinals are under the salary cap? The way they are drafting makes me think they will be aggressive in FA whenever that is.

  37. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    DirtybirD —

    RE: Salary cap

    There is no salary cap right now.

  38. By Jeff Gollin on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    At 6- 1 and 260, strong on run-support but with questionable edge-flexibility, I’m wondering whether he might project better as a run-stopping ILB next to Daryl Washington.

  39. By Matthew on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    reap first of all adding kevin kolb is the same as drafting one of these rookies its a risk. Bulger would add an experienced player who in the right system with the right guys would make for an excelent player. I would truthfully rather go after bulger than any of these rookies, because this years quarterback class isnt a very good 1.

  40. By John the draft guy on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Got to say the post of the day goes to Andystandsup,

    The 2005 comparison was good, then the Mallett comment closed the deal.

    I dont know why some fans think the cards do no wrong and if you question them, you are not a real fan. All you have to do is look back at past drafts to see they have made some very bad picks. Check out 2009, with the picks of Wells and Cody Brown to start with. That doesn’t mean we dont cheer them on.

  41. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Love the pick! It’s always interesting every year to find out how many of the Card’s picks were never personally contacted by the organization.

  42. By AndyStandsUp on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks, John the Draft Guy for the props, but as everyone knows the NFL draft is a dartboard from 50 feet away. Unless you’re a professional dart thrower, you’re more than likely to plunk the guy playing pool. (And then YOU’RE behind the 8 ball.)
    I’m dissing the picks because they go beyond logic of the team’s needs, but, like I said before, I also wanted Sergio Kindle last year.

  43. By Eazy E on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    I really like the acho pick. I live in dallas and I watch UT and im a fan. He has a motor, never stops and knows how to get to the qb. Smart guy, great spiritual beliefs, and pretty good football player.

  44. By Eazy E on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply

    Moving to LB I think will be seamless once he gets the nuances down. I didn’t know he played there his first 2 seasons in austin. I thought he played DE his entire texas longhorn career.

  45. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 30, 2011 | Reply


    Interesting comparison but at 260 lbs I wouldn’t call Acho undersized for a LB. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now he started out at OLB in college then moved to DE.

  46. By Jeff Gollin on May 1, 2011 | Reply

    If no one is crazy about Wiz’s “Acho Cincqo” pun, how about the following cheer after every Acho tackle:

    (Call/Response): “Acho!”


  47. By Darren Urban on May 1, 2011 | Reply

    Jeff —

    RE: Acho pun

    Ummmm ….

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