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Draft Primer 2014: Offensive Line

Posted Apr 16, 2014

After Veldheer signing, Cooper return, line is less of a need

Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan, a Scottsdale Chaparral High graduate, is expected to go early in the draft.

The NFL draft will be held from May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Cardinals addressed several needs in free agency and are now zeroing in on their draft targets. We’ll take a look at each position over the next few weeks.

More draft analysis: S

Draft primer: Offensive line

Cardinals under contract: C Lyle Sendlein, C Tommie Draheim, C John Estes, C/G Philip Blake, C/G Ted Larsen, T Jared Veldheer, T Bradley Sowell, T Nate Potter, T Bobby Massie, G Jonathan Cooper, G Paul Fanaika, G Christian Johnson, G Earl Watford.

Prospects by projected draft round:

First: T Greg Robinson, Auburn; T Jake Matthews, Texas A&M; T Taylor Lewan, Michigan; G/T Zack Martin, Notre Dame.

Second: T Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama; T Morgan Moses, Virginia; G Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA; T JaWuan James, Tennessee; T Cameron Fleming, Stanford; G Joel Bitonio, Nevada;  C Weston Richburg, Colorado State.

Third/fourth: T Billy Turner, North Dakota State; G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State; G Dakota Dozier, Furman; C Marcus Martin, USC; C Travis Swanson, Arkansas; T Jack Mewhort, Ohio State; T Antonio Richardson, Tennessee; T James Hurst, North Carolina; G Cyril Richardson, Baylor; G David Yankey, Stanford.

Fifth or later: T Michael Schofield, Michigan; G Trai Turner, LSU; G Brandon Linder, Miami; T Seantrel Henderson, Miami; T Matt Patchan, Boston College; G Jon Halapio, Florida; C Bryan Stork, Florida State; T Justin Britt, Missouri; T Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff, McGill; G Anthony Steen, Alabama; C Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma; T Charles Siddoway, Mississippi State; G Charles Leno, Boise State; T Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State; G Russell Bodine, North Carolina; G Brandon Thomas, Clemson; C Corey Linsley, Ohio State; T Bryce Quigley, San Diego State; G John Urschel, Penn State.

Analysis: The Cardinals filled their biggest need with the addition of left tackle Jared Veldheer in free agency, and he will start alongside left guard Jonathan Cooper and center Lyle Sendlein. The right side is in flux but the in-house options include former starters Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell, Ted Larsen and Paul Fanaika, as well as last year’s fourth-round pick, Earl Watford. If a lineman is drafted, any immediate playing time figures to come on the right side.

The top three linemen on the board – Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan – are expected to be chosen before the Cardinals draft at No. 20 overall, while Zack Martin could go somewhere in the Cardinals’ range. Those are the four projected first-rounders, although Virginia’s Morgan Moses and Alabama’s Cyrus Kouandjio have upside and could be darkhorse possibilities. There are a variety of linemen pegged for the middle rounds, including bigger names like Antonio Richardson and Seantrel Henderson.

General Manager Steve Keim has some flexibility at this position. If he likes a player on the board, he can go after one. If not, the signing of Veldheer and the return to health of Cooper gives the Cardinals some maneuverability.

 

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