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Cardinals Draft Primer 2017: Offensive Line

With starters in place, an early pick on a lineman seems unlikely

The Cardinals didn't make a big splash in free agency, preferring to add lower-priced veterans to the roster before turning their attention to the draft. The prospect pool is considered deep this year, and General Manager Steve Keim will aim to add pieces that can make an impact in 2017 and beyond. The three-day draft will kick off with the first round on Thursday, April 27, where the Cardinals have the No. 13 overall pick. Position primers will be rolled out daily as it approaches.

More draft primer analysis:CB I WR I LB I RB I DL

Draft primer:Offensive Line

Players under contract:LT D.J. Humphries; LG Mike Iupati; RT Jared Veldheer; C A.Q. Shipley; G Evan Boehm; G/T John Wetzel;  T Ulrick John; G Cole Toner; T Givens Price; G Kaleb Johnson; G/C Daniel Munyer.

Need: Medium

Images of the offensive line prospects projected to get drafted next week

The Cardinals' situation: The biggest change on the offensive line this season will come at the tackle spots, with Humpries expected to take over the left side and Veldheer shuffling over to the right. Boehm is the early front-runner for the starting right guard spot, while incumbent starters Iupati and Shipley will likely remain in their spots. Wetzel and John picked up some experience last season as the line was hit hard by injuries, while Toner will aim to work his way into a backup role.

The draft class: While this is a deep draft on the defensive side of the ball, reports aren't as encouraging regarding the offensive line. The group is thin, with only a few players projected to go in the first round. Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk , Western Kentucky guard Forest Lamp and Utah tackle Garrett Bolles are among the top prospects. Alabama tackle Cam Robinson is athletic but raw. There are several tackles and guards projected to go in the second, third and fourth rounds, an area more palatable for NFL teams who realize there could be a significant learning curve.

The conclusion: The Cardinals drafted Humphries, Boehm and Toner within the past two seasons, but they had negligible impact as rookies. If the team takes a lineman in this draft, it will likely be with the future in mind. While the line struggled last season, much was due to injuries, and the Cardinals' brass seems content with the starting group. However, it's a position that always needs reinforcements. A high choice on a lineman isn't expected, although one could be targeted in the middle or later rounds.

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