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2016 NFL Draft: Arizona Cardinals din't have to draft a center early

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The team believes there are players throughout the draft who might not have played center in college.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Of the supposed needs for the Arizona Cardinals entering the 2016 NFL Draft, the center position is one that has been the main focus recently. Most mock drafts are projecting the team to select Alabama's Ryan Kelly with their pick in the first round.

But based on what general manager Steve Keim said on Tuesday previewing the Draft with the media, the team will have a number of players to choose from in many rounds.

"In this draft there are several opportunities to draft centers in all rounds, and some of those guys are projections" Keim said. "There are some guys in the second, third, fourth round(s) are going to be guys who played left tackle or they played guard at the collegiate level that we have worked out at center, or they played center previously in their career and we believe have the skillset."

Essentially, it doesn't have to be Kelly.

Arians added that "most All-Pro centers were guards (originally)."

He said that "there might be three college centers, but there are 15 potential centers" in the draft.

That opens the door for guys like Kansas State's Cody Whitehair, who has played all over the line, or ASU's Christian Westerman, who played left guard. Michigan's Graham Glasgow played both center and guard. Mick Martin, too.

A center who can play another position is what the Cardinals likely would prefer. Arians loves linemen with positional flexibility.

Maybe the pick will be Kelly, but he might not even be available. We might end up with a surprise player who we didn't know could play center or projected that way.

Regardless of the guy, it sounds like Arians and Keim don't want us pigeon-holing the team into any particular pick, especially in Round 1.