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Cardinals Draft Primer 2021: Offensive Line

More protection for Kyler Murray could be a priority in the draft


General Manager Steve Keim made some high-profile moves in free agency, adding J.J. Watt, Rodney Hudson, A.J. Green, Malcolm Butler and others. The Cardinals have lofty goals in 2021, and finding impact rookies would help fortify the roster. This is the final positional breakdown heading into the draft, which will be held from Thursday, April 29 through Saturday, May 1.

Free agent primer: Offensive Line

More draft primers: CB I RB I LB I WR I DL I QB I ST I TE I S

Players under contract: T D.J. Humphries, G Justin Pugh, C Rodney Hudson, T Kelvin Beachum, G/T Justin Murray , G/T Josh Jones, G Brian Winters, G/C Lamont Gaillard, G/C Max Garcia, T Joshua Miles, G Koda Martin, T Branden Bowen, G Sean Harlow, G Shaq Calhoun.

Need: Medium

The Cardinals' situation: Four of the five offensive line starters seem locked in, as Humphries, Pugh, Hudson and Beachum are proven veterans who all played solidly a season ago. The big question mark for 2021 is right guard. Murray, Jones and Winters could all be in the mix for that role. Gaillard and Garcia are two of the top interior reserves, while players like Miles, Martin, Bowen, Harlow and Calhoun will battle for a roster spot. Veteran tackle Marcus Gilbert retired earlier this week.

The draft class: The top tackle prospects in the draft are Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater and Christian Darrisaw. Sewell is projected to go early, but Slater or Darrisaw could be available at No. 16. Alijah Vera-Tucker is the top-rated interior offensive linemen, and he also has shown the ability to play tackle. Vera-Tucker has been linked to the Cardinals in mock drafts. There are plenty of other offensive line options that could be in play for the Cardinals in each round of the draft.

The conclusion: The most immediate need is right guard, and a player like Vera-Tucker could come in immediately and compete to start. If one of the top three tackles are available at No. 16, the Cardinals' decision there could intimate how they feel about Josh Jones' long-term potential on the outside. GM Steve Keim has placed an emphasis on improving the line this offseason – highlighted by the trade for Hudson – and another addition through the draft would not be a surprise.