The Cards took tackle Bobby Massie in the fourth round (photo courtesy University of Mississippi).
Maybe his drop was a mystery. It was to Bobby Massie himself.
"I really don't know," the Mississippi offensive tackle said Saturday, after the Cardinals picked him in the fourth round, far back from where many pegged him to go prior to the draft.
"It just makes me hungry," Massie added. "I was projected to go higher and earlier in the draft. I'm ready to strap on the pads and show teams why I should have been drafted earlier."
The Cards were one of the teams that initially passed on Massie despite a need. He could have been the choice in the third round, but the team went with cornerback Jamell Fleming. When Massie was still there in the fourth round, it was a natural fit.
"I was a little bit (surprised)," offensive line coach Russ Grimm said. "You just have to weigh how our guys have him rated and go from there."
Grimm said he liked Massie's durability and Massie will compete for a starting job with Jeremy Bridges and D'Anthony Batiste.
"If you draft a guy up until the fifth round, you're saying he has a chance to come in and play," Grimm said. "We're drafting these guys to come in and compete for a job."
The immediate reaction from draft analysts was positive. ESPN's Mel Kiper said he expected Massie to go in the second round. Former defensive tackle Tim Ryan, now a Fox color man for the NFL and host on Sirius, said he thought Massie could start as a rookie. NFL Network's Mike Mayock had Massie as his 44th-best player in the entire draft, ahead of the more celebrated tackle Mike Adams and Cal tackle Mitchell Schwartz.
The Massie pick likely closes the door on a return by last year's right tackle starter, Brandon Keith, and fills the need that had loomed over the Cards since the end of the regular season. The Cards hadn't drafted an offensive lineman since 2009.
"That's the way things fall," Grimm said. "You can't say we're going to start sliding guys up just to get guys there that we didn't have rated that high."
Massie said his strength is pass protection.
"For my size, I'm athletic for a big guy," he said. "I need to work on staying low in the running game and staying on linebackers in the second level."
Massie came out of college a year early, but said he had no regrets. He was named to the SEC's all-conference third team and started his final 29 games with the Rebels.
"A lot of teams that talked to me and told me they were going to draft me ended up passing," Massie said. "That's just how the draft goes. I'm just proud to be in Arizona."