The Cardinals have long searched for an elite RB. They tried via free agency, signing two potential Hall of Famers in Emmitt Smith and Edgerrin James, in the last six years. They tried drafting one in the top 10 (Garrison Hearst, Thomas Jones), and they've given unknowns a chance (Tim Hightower, Marcel Shipp).
Hightower enters training camp as the starter but will have to hold off rookie Beanie Wells to hang on to the job. Hightower emerged from his rookie season as a bit of an enigma. He was very productive in goal-line and short-yardage situations. And he made two impressive plays in the game-winning drive in the NFC title game.
But Hightower didn't produce after becoming the the starter in the eighth game. It wasn't all his fault, of course, as the whole team fell into a malaise, but coaches were hoping for more. There were too many negative runs, and Hightower didn't give the club the big-play ability coaches had hoped.
Still, he has a great upside. He has good quickness and speed. He's physical, bright and has a desire to be good. But he needs to prove he's more than a situational back.