Arizona Cardinals undrafted rookies: Scouting the trenches

Jared Wickerham

Hunting down analysis on the Cardinals class of undrafted rookies with a preview of how they are likely to fit with the team in 2013. Next up are the big fellas tasked with controlling the line of scrimmage. Consider this the dirty jobs edition.

Each year it's interesting to see who emerges from the scrapheap of outside linebackers the Cardinals cobble together, and the position lacks definition in 2013 even more than it has in seasons past. Sam Acho should start, but the other side is wide open, with Lorenzo Alexander coming off a career-high 2.5 sack season penciled in ahead of all comers. Alex Okafor will be a factor for the team, but there isn't much clarity beyond that. Tight end and offensive line are a little more settled at the top of the depth chart, but there are opportunities for young players to shine this off-season and secure a roster spot.

Kyle Auffray, TE, New Hampshire
Highlights; Super Regional Combine performance

For a bigger body used primarily as a blocker in college, he does a decent enough job catching the ball. He ran a 4.73 40 a couple years ago and has been training hard this off-season to get back into the game, saying he's in the best shape of his football life. A stand-out at the NFL's Super Regional Combine, Auffray survived a field of over 2,600 other NFL hopefuls to reach the final event and parlayed that chance into a roster spot with the Cardinals. Pretty good for a guy who was ready to go play in Poland a few months ago.

Projection: Practice squad
Auffray is the definition of a long shot, but it's hard to bet against him at this point. He doesn't have to be dynamic, just consistent, to have a shot at the practice squad as a developmental third tight end. The team is pretty full at the position, but I don't see a lot of separation after Rob Housler and Jeff King. This could be a fun competition to watch.

Joe Caprioglio, OG, Colorado State
6'6" 315 lbs.

Caprioglio played left tackle for CSU but projects as a guard in the NFL. DraftInsider likes his strength and explosiveness at the point of attack but says he struggles with balance and motion. NFL.com agrees, saying he anchors well with good lower body strength, but lacks the agility to stay at tackle.

Projection: Grim
Caprioglio sounds like a better fit as a power blocker than in a zone blocking scheme, which puts him at a disadvantage in Arizona. His combination of size and power may make him worth a developmental spot on the practice squad.

Jamaal Johnson-Webb, OT, Alabama A&M
6'6" 306 lbs.

BleacherReport likes JJW's combination of size, athleticism and strength. They note his ability to pull as either a guard or tackle and believe he has the versatility to play either position in the NFL with the caveat that he is extremely raw coming out of the FCS and will need time to develop. His run-blocking stands out and he fires quickly off the snap, but DetroitLionsDraft agrees that he is a project who will require patience.

Projection: Practice squad
Versatility is a huge bonus when it comes to back-up offensive linemen, and JJW offers that. He has upside as a developmental tackle/guard, and the Cardinals don't have many other players who fit that mold.

Dan Giordano, OLB, Cincinnatti
6'4" 260 lbs.
Highlights; vs Pittsburgh; vs USF

With the preface that I think he's a better 4-3 end than 3-4 OLB, Giordano is actually a sleeper prospect of mine. He's built like a lineman, with a thick build, and he plays like a lineman, getting off the snap quickly, attacking with active hands, and using his strength to drive blockers into the pocket. He's an effort player with polished spin and swim moves who holds up well at the line of scrimmage and against the run. His timed speeds are pretty much crap, and that's reflected on his tape (sorry, Dan). Giordano is a stiff athlete. He takes wide turns and struggles to change direction once he builds up a head of steam, but his first step is good and he plays with uncommon power and technique. During his senior year he tallied 12 QB hurries but only 5 sacks, and his NFL resume is likely to be similar. He will be a disruptive player that will struggle to finish consistently. A report from the NationalFootballPost mostly agrees with my notes, concluding, "His toughness, competes, size and play against the run give him a chance to make it as a backup defensive end and special teams player."

Projection: Bubble
Giordano joins the Cardinals as a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect who can fill in on defense in a pinch right away. Though not an ideal 3-4 OLB, look for him to compete with incumbents Zach Nash and Tim Fugger for a back-up/special teams role.

Padric Scott, NT, Florida A&M
6'0" 309 lbs.
CFPA Interview; entire game vs. Howard

Scott gets high praise for his work ethic and commitment in the weight room where he is able to bench press over 500 lbs. This is further reflected by his 38 reps at 225 lbs -- a number that would have tied him for first place at this year's NFL Combine. While he'll have an adjustment period coming out of an FCS school, he is more than equipped physically to handle the rigors of playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.

Projection: Practice squad
Scott is the kind of guy you want in the weight room but he has to prove he belongs on the field. He may push Ricky Lumpkin for the back-up nose tackle job. Unfortunately for both of them, the team doesn't use their back-up nose tackle, which means the best man will still only be good enough for a spot on the practice squad.

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