Last season the Arizona Cardinals started the season with Levi Brown manning the left tackle position after playing right tackle his previous three years in the NFL. His mission was to protect Derek Anderson's blind side, enabling him to have more time to throw the ball down the field. The Arizona Cardinals offensive line allowed 50 sacks this past season as compared to 26 the previous season. Seven of the sacks from 2010 can be attributed to Levi Brown. If they look to acquire a big name quarterback and regain the throne of the NFC West, Levi Brown will need to live up to what he was hyped up to be when he was drafted.
One of his lone bright spots during the year came on the fumble he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown against the Saints. There was much skepticism entering the season on whether Brown, the Penn State product, was worth a number five overall pick and whether or not he could live up to his potential. From the looks of it... he has a long way to go.
We all have heard the stories of the players could have taken instead of Brown with the number five pick. From Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, and Darrelle Revis, we could have anchored another important position for years to come. Levi was drafted two spots behind the perennial pro-bowler Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns, another offensive lineman.
The Cardinals have another number five pick again this year and unless they decide to go with a young franchise QB, they are expected to pick a defensive player, such as Von Miller or Robert Quinn. If they plan on going the defensive player route, then a veteran QB signing will be necessary to replace the poor play of the quarterback unit currently on the roster.
Whichever new quarterback comes in, they will want to ensure that they are protected and can get some time to make decisions from the pocket. The Cardinals allowed way too many sacks this season, as evidenced by Anderson and Max Hall's concussion issues.
Obviously, the QB needs to get the ball out of their hands in a decent amount of time, but the line needs to give him a few seconds to let the receivers run their routes. I am sure Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, Marc Bulger, or whoever it may be, will not want to endure the same kind of abuse that the current Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks have.
The Cardinals should have been a bit more proactive in terms of seeing the downfall of the offensive line. They brought in Alan Faneca, a proven lineman, but that signing only further deteriorated the pass protection.
This time around, I would like to see the Cards look to draft a young blocker within the first three or four rounds. From what I am hearing, this year's draft class does not look extremely strong in the offensive lineman area, but as with any other draft, I am sure there is a diamond in the rough waiting to be picked up by a team in need. With Lyle Sendlein receiving a tender (and hopefully signing it), the left side of the line is what demands the most attention. This means you Levi!
It's time for Levi Brown to step up or he may see himself as another high first round draft bust with his name written on the NFL wall of shame.