When it comes to an NFL team’s defensive front, everybody wants a star.

That’s just as true for the Cardinals, even though they probably have greater needs at running back and cornerback.

So in drafting in the first and second rounds on Saturday — the draft runs from noon to 7 p.m. — the Cardinals could well be faced with a choice of taking a player they think could be a star vs. filling a greater need.

The Cardinals suggest strongly they are looking for stars.

The top of this year draft this year is “going to lean toward best available player,” General Manager Rod Graves said.

“We do have certain positions that coach (Ken Whisenhunt) and I have identified that we would like to address early.

“But we don’t want to do that at the expense of leaving top players on the board. We’ve had good success whenever we’ve taken that approach to the draft.”

In searching for an impact player on their defensive front, Graves said, “If you’re just looking for one item, it’s the propensity to make big plays, game-changing plays.”

“The more often a player is able to do that, it’s an indicator he may have the potential and star ability at our level.”

In addition, making big plays in critical situations is “the quality great players have,” Graves said.

Pass rushers usually are the defensive players most in demand on draft day.

That seems to fit the Cardinals this year.

Though they don’t seem to have any glaring weaknesses, they seem to lack a star at the pass-rushing outside linebacker/defensive end spots; ideally they could use a player who could fill both roles.

Such big-name defensive ends as Chris Long and Vernon Gholston will be gone when the Cardinals pick at No. 16. But Derrick Harvey of Florida and outside linebackers such as Keith Rivers of USC could be available. As things stand, the Cardinals will have such players as Travis LaBoy, Bertrand Berry, Chike Okeafor and Clark Haggans competing for time at those spots.

Haggans is a free-agent acquisition who was a part-time starter for Pittsburgh. LaBoy, also a free-agent acquisition, had a similar role with Tennessee. Berry, who will be 33 when the season starts, and Okeafor, 32, both are coming off injuries; Okeafor missed the entire season.

While saying, “We feel very good about the additions we’ve made,” Whisenhunt also said, “I don’t think there’s a team in the league who wouldn’t like to have as many pass rushers as they could possibly have.

“One of the biggest things you want to do is put pressure on the quarterback. That makes it much easier for your defensive backfield. ...

“Last year, as the season progressed we wore down a little bit. We had some injuries.

“It limited our ability to put pressure on the quarterback. That puts a lot more stress on your secondary.

“I don’t think you can ever have too many of them. You’re always looking to find those guys.”

Graves agreed, saying, “We have a couple of players who have been productive in the past, but they’re coming off injuries.

“We’ve got to be open-minded as we go into this draft, be willing to address … positions where we know we’re coming off injuries or we may be aging. … We’ll just evaluate it as the names are on the board.”

In any case, Graves echoed Whisenhunt on pass rushers: “You can’t have enough of those guys.”

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