For the past five seasons, every year, the Arizona Cardinals draft a combination of both offense and defense. Last season, the Cards drafted two defensive players in the first two rounds, then went with four offensive players (two offensive lineman).
So far through four weeks, I’ve noticed that the Cards have probably had the worst offensive line ‘luck’. Starting left tackle D.J. Humphries played in the first game, but hasn’t been back since. Starting left guard Mike Iupati hurt his pectoral muscle and has since been placed on IR. His replacement, Alex Boone, has been injured for a couple of weeks (hoping to get him back this week).
Even the regular starters of Evan Boehm and Jared Veldheer have struggled mightily. The backup of Humphries, John Wetzel, has been struggling with consistency on bull rushes. Consistency is something not known for the Cards. The first couple of seasons of Jared Veldheer and Mike Iupati, it was an investment worth making, but now they haven’t given the Cards anything other than injury and mental mistakes.
Unless they drastically change in the next couple of weeks, the Cards could be looking to replace three of five positions (still believe in Humphries, and A.Q. Shipley has been average). The incoming free agent market features Nate Solder, the mostly considered bust of Greg Robinson, and it doesn’t get much better from there.
When I look at the draft class, you could easily draft two good offensive linemen, and probably plug them in. The first lineman on my list is probably Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame, but I think he’ll go anywhere between 9-13. The Cardinals, according to NFL.com, are projected currently to pick at number 9. If that’s true, the Cards could have their pick of the litter.
Next, it’s a toss-up between Mitch Hyatt of Clemson and Orlando Brown Jr. of Oklahoma, and I think those two tackles could go in between 9-20. Orlando is a great run-blocker, and seems to be improving countering the speed rush. Hyatt is a better pass pro tackle, and might be your better pull-out blocker.
My list for offensive lineman:
- Quenton Nelson - OG - Notre Dame (top-15)
- Orlando Brown Jr. - OT - Oklahoma (top-15)
- Mitch Hyatt - OT - Clemson (top-20)
- Connor Williams - OT - Texas (top-25)
- Trey Adams - OT - Washington (top-25)
- Mike McGlinchey - OT - Notre Dame (top-32)
- Aaron Stinnie - OT - James Madison (top-35)
- Martez Ivey - OT - Florida (top-45)
- Martinas Rankin - OT - Mississippi State (top-45)
- Ike Boettger - OT - Iowa (top-45)
This brings me to another point: if the Cards draft according to need, how many defenders could the Cards draft? If any at all. Next time, I’ll evaluate who’s there for wide receivers/tight ends. Until then, I’ll be anticipating mass hysteria about how wrong I am.