Background: GLENDALE, AZ - JULY 26: Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Joshua Miles (66), Arizona Cardinals center Lamont Gaillard (65) and Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle William Sweet (75) move a blocking sled during the Arizona Cardinals training camp on July 26, 2019 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Having compared the Cardinals projected starters on the offensive line to those of the Rams’, 49ers’ and Seahawks’, it is encouraging to see that the Cardinals have a chance, for the first time in a long time, to boast the best OL in the division. It won’t be easy, but it looks possible.
To take this encouragement a step further—-today we will ask the question whether the Cardinals have the best and most talented depth along the OL in the NFC West.
When I go searching for up to date NFL depth charts, my favorite place to go is Ourlad’s. For the most part, i think they are accurate and I like the way they include how each player was acquired—-as seen here for the Cardinals:
LT 79-Jones, Josh 20/3 66-Miles, Joshua 19/7 62-Dennis, Jackson CF20
LG 70-Jones, Sam SF19 61-Gonzalez, Steven CF20
RG 73-Garcia, Max U/Den 63-Dickinson, Andrew CF20
RT 66-Miles, Joshua 19/7 78-Toth, Brett W/Phi 60-Benzinger, Jake CF20
The entire Ourlads’ depth chart for the 2020 Cardinals is here:
LT—-I believe that 2020 3rd round pick Josh Jones will start the season as the swing tackle and thus will spend time at both LT and RT. Jones is a talented pass protector and is likely to become a starter at one of the tackle spots at some point this season or next year.
Behind Jones at LT is 2019 7th round pick Joshua Miles who is a raw talent and could be tried this year inside at guard.
LG—-What I have heard is that Sean Kugler and Brian Natkin are very impressed with former Sun Devil G Sam Jones. There is a solid chance that he not only makes the roster, but that he is one of the active 8-9 OL on game days. Behind him at LG is CFA Steven Gonzalez from Penn St. who is a mauler in the running game.
C—-This is a big season for Lamont Gaillard because if he plays well, there is a solid chance that he could be a starter at C or RG next season, particularly if the coaches like the combo of Gaillard at C and Mason Cole at RG. Behind Gaillard is veteran swing G/C Max Garcia.
RG—-Max Garcia is now back to full strength after his ACL injury in 2018. His ability to play guard and center could make him a valuable active depth player on game days. Garcia could be a late bloomer—-he’s been inconsistent as a starter thus far in his career, but at times he has flashed good pop and leverage techniques.
RT—-Ourlads has Marcus Gilbert starting at RT—-and if Gilbert is healthy he is going to get the nod. Ourlads has Josh Jones listed as the RT2 and Justin Murray as RT3. The GM and the coaches have mentioned that if need be, Justin Murray can be used at guard. Thus, if Gilbert looks healthy and ready to go, we could see Murray take some snaps at guard this pre-season. The wild card here is Brett Toth—-a developmental tackle who can play both LT and RT—-and perhaps will be tried at guard as well. I have heard that the coaches are very high on this young man due to his size, athleticism and work ethic/discipline (military background).
It remains to be seen whether CFAs Steven Gonzalez, Dennis Jackson, Andrew Dickinson and Jake Benzinger will be kept in the mix now that teams are expected to come to camp with 75-80 players instead of 90. Of the four, it would seem that Gonzalez has the best chance to stay in the fold.
Here are the OL depth charts of the Rams, 49ers and Seahawks:
LT Chandler Brewer CF19...............Justin Skule 19/6.................Jamarco Jones 18/5
LG Joe Noteboom 18/3..................Kofi Amichie SF19................Mike Iupati, U/ARI
C Coleman Shelton P/ARI.............Ben Garland U/ATL...............Jordan Roos, CF17
RG David Edwards 19/5.................Ross Reynolds CF19..............Damien Lewis 20/3
RT Bobby Evans 19/3.....................Daniel Brunskill SF19.............Brandon Shell U/NYJ
Why don’t we do this—-take a close look at the Cardinals’ OL depth versus the Rams’, 49ers’ and Seahawks’ and you be the judge—-how do you think the Cardinals’ death stacks up versus our rivals’?
I will offer my opinion after I consider a number of yours.