What the Cardinals want in their corners

March, 25, 2012
3/25/12
12:09
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As Darren Urban pointed out, former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay has suggested he'll be signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals needed help at the position after losing Richard Marshall to Miami. Gay, who visited Arizona in free agency, would fit the team quite well because Arizona's defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, coached him in Pittsburgh.

This signing would be a telling one for the Cardinals. Gay is about as different from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as a cornerback could be. Rodgers-Cromartie, a first-round pick for Arizona in 2008, stands 6-foot-2 and has blazing speed, but he did not provide much of a physical presence.

Gay is 5-10, 190 pounds and not as gifted athletically, but he's tenacious and a willing tackler -- and Horton, like the Steelers, insists that his corners support against the run. That is why the Cardinals were OK trading Rodgers-Cromartie to Philadelphia once Horton became their defensive coordinator before the 2011 season.

Gay did not contribute on special teams to the degree Marshall did for Arizona last season. He did play 95 percent of the Steelers' defensive snaps. He started 15 games. He would give the Cardinals additional flexibility at the position heading into the draft, and instant familiarity with their scheme.

"He has average size and strength with deceptive quickness and agility," the Scouts Inc. report Insider on Gay reads, in part. "He is a physical, reliable tackler and is very aggressive for a perimeter defender. ... He wins with toughness, technique and instincts."

Update: The Cardinals have announced a contract agreement with Gay.

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