With the Indianapolis Colt's selection of QB Chandler Harnish, Mr. Irrelevant of this draft, the 2012 NFL Draft has come to a close. Day one of the draft gave the Cardinals the highly touted Fighting Irish receiver Michael Floyd. Day two saw Oklahoma Sooners CB Jamell Fleming selected by our Arizona Cardinals in the 3rd round, and while those two selections are very solid players, many fans were clamouring for the infamous Cardinal's offensive line to get addressed. Those prayers were answered by the Cardinals on the third day of the draft as the Cardinals selected three offensive linemen, Bobby Massie, Senio Kelemete, and Nate Potter, as well as DB Justin Bethel and QB Ryan Lindley.
Hit the jump for more on each player and how they will fit onto our Arizona Cardinals
Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss. Selected in the 4th round, 112th overall
Massie was an OT prospect many Cardinals fans were predicting would be the choice in the 3rd round, as he appeared to be one of the best players available at the time, and filled a huge need at the right tackle position. However, as we know, the Cardinals viewed Fleming as the better player, and opted to select him in the third round. Fortunately, Massie fell all the way to the Cardinals next selection in the 4th round, and there was absolutely no hesitation by the Cardinals in making that selection.
Despite being a rookie, I believe Massie has an excellent chance to start as the right tackle from week one. With Levi entrenched as the incumbent left tackle, Massie is easily the most talented tackle left on the Cardinal's roster, and if coach Whisenhunt gives him a chance to win the starting job out of camp, Massie has a great chance to do so. With Jeremy Bridges as his best competition for the right tackle position at the moment, Massie should be able to earn his playing time.
Bobby Massie has a big frame, good athleticism, and is solid in both pass protection and run blocking. He possesses a mean streak in the running game, and finishes all his blocks. In pass protection, Massie tends to rely on his natural ability rather than technique to block opposing rushers, and can suffer due to this, however if Massie does improve his technique, he could possibly even take over the left tackle position in a few seasons.
Senio Kelemete, OG/OT, Washington. Selected in the 5th round, 151st overall
In the fifth round, the Cardinals again added to their offensive line by drafting one of my favourite guard prospects, Senio Kelemete of Washington. Rex Hadnot has been released and Deuce Lutui signed with the Seahawks, leaving the Cardinals with a lack of depth on their offensive line. With Snyder seemingly pencilled in as the starting right guard of the 2012 season, it would appear that Kelemete will be used for depth in his first season, as he should be.
Senio Kelemete is a very raw prospect, but possesses great natural athleticism. He has a very strong lower half, and like Massie, is a very aggressive run blocker. While he did start at left tackle, his body type and skill set play better as an interior linemen, but he can provide depth as a tackle if need be. Early in his career, Kelemete was a defensive tackle, and thereby is a little behind the other guard prospects in this draft in term of development.
Despite all this, Kelemete's natural physical abilities, such as quick feet, fluid movement, and great lower body strength give him the tools to be a very good guard prospect. His technique does need some work, but the Cardinals do boast one of the better offensive line coaches in the league, in Russ Grimm. With the help of Grimm, Kelemete should find himself in the starting lineup as soon as next season, paired up with Bobby Massie on the right side of the offensive line.
Justin Bethel, DB, Presbyterian. Selected in the 6th round, 177th overall
One of the needs Cardinals fans discussed going into the 2012 NFL Draft was the need for both safety depth, and a potential successor to either Kerry Rhodes or Adrian Wilson. It would appear the Cardinals got their man in the 6th round with the selection of athletic freak Justin Bethel. Bethel boasts a mind boggling 60-inch vertical(although this was not measured at the combined), and also tested very well in the rest of the combine measurables. As with Kelemete, Bethel is a raw prospect who relies heavily on his natural athletic ability to make play, but will need to refine his technique if he wants to be an impact player.
For next season, Bethel likely projects as a special teams contributor while he works on his back peddling and overall footwork, but with former defensive back Ray Horton as our defensive coordinator, Bethel should be able to receive the required coaching to become a starter in the Cardinals secondary. As well as being incredibly talented, Bethel has a nack for making big plays, and possesses a high football IQ.
Eventually, Bethel should find some work at either safety position for the Cardinals. His play making ability and great explosion should lead to Bethel creating quite a few turnovers, should he reach his potential. If he can't find his way into the starting position, Bethel will be a huge contributor on special teams, as in his career as Presbyterian, Bethel collected 13 blocked kicks.
Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State. Selected in the 6th round, 185th overall
Regarding the quarterback position, it would appear as though the Cardinals have adopted the "throw everything you can at the wall and see what sticks" philosophy. With the selection of Ryan Lindley in the 6th round, the Cardinals have added another high potential, project quarterback. This selection would also seem to suggest that Richard Bartel's days as a Cardinal are coming to an end.
In Lindley, the Cardinals get the 2012 draft addition of our very own John Skelton. Both Skelton and Lindley are tall quarterbacks, both have very strong and inaccurate arms, both have good pocket presence and awareness, and both need to work on their technique in the NFL to reach their potential. Lindley started four years at San Diego State, and seems to have the desire to work on improve the shortcomings of his game, specifically accuracy and inconsistency issues. I'd expect Lindley to make the Cardinals roster as the third QB, but, barring injury, likely won't suit up for many game this season, due to the Cardinals tendency to only dress two quarterbacks.
Lindley provides a high potential safety net should the Kevin Kolb experiment fail. If Kolb does not improve his game substainally and the Cardinals opt to cut ties with Kolb after this season, Lindley will likely move into the number two QB spot. On the flip side, should Kolb progress to a sufficient level, John Skelton then becomes a potential trade target of QB needy teams, and could fetch the Cardinals a relatively high draft pick. In that case, Lindley would once again move up to the second position on the depth chart.
Nate Potter, OT, Boise State. Selected in the seventh round, 221st overall
With their final selection, Arizona added more depth to our suddenly young offensive line, with the selection of Boise State's Nate Potter. Potter had been projected usually in the third to fifth round area, so once again, the Cardinals best player available draft strategy has seemed to pay huge dividends. Potter is the anti thesis of the rest of the Cardinals day three selections; most of them are project players who are likely to not see any significant playing time, despite great natural ability for a while due to needed refinement of techinque, while Potter has great technique but needs to add strength.
Potter will officially be listed behind Levi Brown on the depth chart as a left tackle, but will likely, or at least should be, the first backup to either tackle spot. Another great bonus for Potter is his excellent track record of durability, a very important aspect for a bench player. A team certainly wouldn't want to worry about using the third string player in a game, and Potter's durability should keep him on the field if needed. He has good technique and lateral quickness in pass protection, and also has good technique in run blocking, but will need to add bulk to his frame if he wants to succeed in the NFL.
While it is not very likely at this point, Potter could eventually turn into a decent left tackle for the Cardinals. And boy do we know how difficult it is to find a decent left tackle in the NFL, isn't that right Levi Brown? The most likely outcome for Potter is a dependable backup who can fill in on either exterior line position, and fill in admirably. Adding depth is always important, especially to the big boys in the trenches, and Potter should be able to slide in and out seamlessly in multiple positions due to his technique and football IQ.