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Korey Cunningham: The X-Factor on the Offense

Cunningham played offensive tackle, tight end, and defensive end in his football career

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Seventh-round draft selections don’t normally see significant playing time in their careers, let alone have a long stay in the NFL.

Rookie offensive tackle Korey Cunningham, the 254th overall pick, has a chance to see the field early and often.

He was a 6-foot-6, 220-pound guy in his first year at the University of Cincinnati. In high school, he moved around interchangeably from playing tight end to defensive end due to his athleticism.

When he was asked to move to offensive tackle, Cunningham accepted the challenge and did a very good job at it. He started 24 consecutive games at left tackle and allowed zero sacks in 469 pass-blocking snaps in his senior season at Cincinnati

Even though he added over 90 pounds to his frame, his athleticism remained. He ran a 4.9 40, benched 27 reps, and jumped a 36-inch vertical at his Pro Day.

Now the Arizona Cardinals have a serious need at the tight end position and are looking for players that can both catch and block.

Jermaine Gresham is currently recovering from a torn Achilles. Ricky Seals-Jones made some big plays in 2017 before fading down the stretch. Every other tight end on the roster have minimal to no NFL regular season experience.

Cunningham has the background as a pass catcher in high school. He is stronger than all of the tight ends currently on the roster and he has the height and vertical jump that is needed to play the position in the NFL.

In addition to this, he also has experience as a blocker as a result of being one of the better offensive tackles in college in 2017.

He likely won’t be asked to be an every-down tight end in Mike McCoy’s system but will be a red-zone threat that could surprise Arizona Cardinals’ 2018 opponents.

Will he be on the field as an extra blocker or a pass catcher?

Most teams will probably think that he’s just a blocker but the Cardinals could use him in many ways that will fool their opponents.

Cunningham can be more than just an offensive lineman and it will be up to the team to take advantage of the skills that he brings to the team.

His athletic ability along with his versatility makes him a very intriguing draft pick. He can have a very successful career that many seventh-rounders before him did not.