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Arizona Cardinals late-round picks making unexpected contributions

Injuries, ineffectiveness have all played a role.

Kevin C. Cox

At the start of this season, there were very few people that believed that the late round picks of the Arizona Cardinals would make much of an impact on offense. Justin Bethel was drafted as a project, but was different in the fact that he was expected to make significant special teams contributions. However, Bobby Massie, Ryan Lindley and Nate Potter were never supposed to be key contributors.

However, injuries and lack of effectiveness have pushed all three into the starting lineup.

Massie was the first to play. All along, it was hoped that he would crack the lineup this season, eventually passing up veteran Jeremy Bridges. But Bridges was not particularly good in the preseason and then suffered a thump injury that landed him on injured reserve, so Massie started from Week 1.

Nate Potter, drafted in the seventh round out of Boise State, was a project pick who had the experience in college and the technique, but needed to add strength and size. When Levi Brown went down in the preseason and was lost for the season with a torn triceps, the left tackle position became an issue. First Bridges had his shot and could not do it. Then it was journeyman D'Anthony Batiste that won the job but struggled. Potter was called upon to replace Batiste in the team's game against the Green bay Packers and was named the starter thereafter.

Lindley had his rise to the forefront this last week. Injuries at the quarterback position have been an issue all season. First it was John Skelton who sprained his ankle in Week 1. Kevin Kolb took over and led the team to four victories in a row. Once Skelton got healthy, Kolb suffered detached ribs and has not been back. Skelton's play was shaky at best and the team lost six straight, five while he played.

Lindley was called upon against Atlanta and was named the starter this past Wednesday. Whether he continues to start once Kolb is healthy is yet to be determined.

With little hope or expectation to play from any of these three players, they will all start this Sunday.

They could be seen as the Cardinals' own "Expendables."