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Adding Depth To The Offensive Line

Posted Apr 28, 2012

Draft notebook: Battle looming in secondary; Taking familiar QB

Boise State tackle Nate Potter was the third offensive lineman picked by the Cards Saturday in the draft (photo courtesy Boise State University.)

The Cardinals had five draft picks on the final day of selection weekend, and turned three of them into offensive linemen.

So do the Cards now have the depth they would like on the offensive line?

“That,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said Saturday at the conclusion of the draft, “remains to be seen.”

The Cards got right tackle Bobby Massie of Mississippi in the fourth round, Washington guard Senio Kelemete in the fifth round and then closed the draft with Boise State left tackle Nate Potter in the seventh round.

“One of the areas a lot of people have said we needed to address was offensive line,” Whisenhunt said. “There were obviously some rumblings (Friday) when we didn’t take one with the third-round pick. But we feel good about trusting our board.

“When you look at where we are, we have some young guys in the pipeline now that we didn’t have before that we can work on developing.”

Massie is the key, the most likely to earn playing time quickly. He will be in the mix to start at right tackle against veterans Jeremy Bridges and also D’Anthony Batiste. Brandon Keith, 2011’s starter, is a free agent and unlikely to return.

“I’m excited we got Bobby Massie in here with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder,” Whisenhunt said after Massie went a couple of rounds after he was projected to go. Whisenhunt said the potential is there for Massie to start, “but he has to prove that.”

The Cards already have four-fifths of their starting offensive line all but set. Levi Brown will be the left tackle, Daryn Colledge the left guard, Lyle Sendlein the center and newcomer Adam Snyder the right guard.

Kelemete will work at guard after playing left tackle in college. Potter needs to gets stronger but general manager Rod Graves said he has the potential to play left tackle should he develop.

“I’m going to do all I can to play my best and get a job,” Potter said.

LOADING UP ON DEFENSIVE BACKS

The Cardinals ended up taking Presbyterian safety Justin Bethel with the first of two six-round selections after nabbing Oklahoma cornerback Jamell Fleming in the third round. That Bethel will play safety clarifies the pick more than if he would have also been considered a cornerback, but it’s clear the Cards don’t mind an upgrade in the secondary after last season.

“The NFL does that for us, it will weed the weak out,” defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “We’ve got to find a way to get better.”

Horton – speaking before the Bethel pick – said he thought Fleming could contribute as a rookie. But he noted that three veterans didn’t play for his defense last year in Greg Toler, Crezdon Butler (both injured) and William Gay (in Pittsburgh).

“It gives us depth at a position we need,” Horton said.

FAMILIARITY BREEDS A SIXTH-ROUNDER

In taking San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley with the second of their sixth-round picks, Whisenhunt said it was helped by the fact the Cards had seen a lot of Lindley the previous year watching video of 2011 seventh-round pick receiver DeMarco Sampson and future fellow NFLer Vincent Brown.

“It’s hard when you look at a player we saw last year, while studying the two receivers out of San Diego State that you don’t notice the quarterback,” Whisenhunt said. “This year wasn’t as productive and maybe there are reasons for that. He’s a young guy at a position you have an opportunity to work with. Face it, quarterbacks in this league, you need as many as you can get so you can get a couple who can play well for you.”

Whisenhunt said Lindley needs to work on fundamentals, including his footwork. As for Lindley having a hard time sticking to the roster, Whisenhunt said “I would like to think it will be hard for a lot of these guys to stick on the roster because that’s a sign you have a good football team.”

Lindley sounded confident he’s going to the right place for such a competition.

“I felt like I kind of clicked when I met with their coaching staff at the combine,” Lindley said.

HOW SPECIAL ARE TEAMS?

The two defensive backs, assuming they make the roster, have a chance to make immediate impact on special teams, which is one of the reasons they were taken. Fleming talked Friday night about having his own special-teams highlight reel, and Bethel said he has nine blocked kicks in his career.

“They say I’m one of the best special teams players out there,” Bethel said. “I always just play as hard as I possibly can.”

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