It gets asked about every year at the end of OTAs and mini-camp. Who are the players that stood out in the offseason? It was asked of Bruce Arians on Wednesday after their final practice of mini-camp.
You probably would not have predicted the guys he mentioned -- they are all reserve offensive linemen. He mentioned John Wetzel, Antoine McClain and Earl Watford.
"John played extemely well at both tackles," Arians said.
Wetzel was a late practice squad addition to the team last December, bouncing from Dallas to Indy previously. He is big at 6-7, 328 pounds.
McClain is a guy who gets a lot of buzz from the coaches, despite having been released by half a dozen other teams. This offseason McClain "was doing what he thought he would do." Always previously a guard, McClain has been getting work at guard and at tackle. "We just need to sit him down at one position," Arians said. "He's doing too many."
And of course Watford "had a hell of a spring," which he always does. This time he has added center to his repertoire, so he can play all five line positions now.
The Cardinals over the last few seasons have kept eight or nine linemen on the roster. With a starting five of Jared Veldheer, Mike Iupati, A.Q. Shipley, Evan Mathis and D.J. Humphries, those three reserves mentioned plus rookie Evan Boehm might just round out the roster for the regular season on the line, giving them a swing tackle, a guard for both sides and one who can play anywhere. With Boehm, you have the future center.
Will these be the linemen to make the final roster?