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Cardinals Get Their Center

Team takes Missouri's Boehm in fourth round


The Cardinals took Missouri center Evan Boehm in the fourth round.

The Cardinals didn't have a starting center. They may have found one with their fourth-round pick Saturday in the draft.

Missouri's Evan Boehm, a prospect who checked all the boxes Steve Keim and Bruce Arians love with his intelligence, experience (52 straight college starts) and leadership as team captain, will have a strong

chance to earn a starting spot vacated by Lyle Sendlein.

Sendlein, who was brought back two weeks into training camp last season when the Cards had questions at center, was not offered a new contract.

"I can't wait to go and compete and try and earn a spot," Boehm said.

Arians emphasized Boehm would have to earn the job – "There is no job handed out" – but Keim noted that in the Cardinals' new system of both football character and character grades, Boehm was one of only "five or six" players that earned an A in both.

"His intangibles are off the charts," Keim said, adding that Boehm reminded him of a young Dan Koppen, who was a long-time anchor of the Patriots at center.

Boehm's father was his high school coach, and Boehm was good enough of a player in eighth grade to

earn a verbal scholarship offer from Missouri before he even reached high school. He did not disappoint.

"I enter a mode when I go out on the field," Boehm said. "I change to a different person and I like to compete and I like to dominate. I hate losing."

Boehm won high school state championships in football, wrestling and track (discus).

Boehm already knows about the Cardinals. He entered Missouri in the same class as current Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden, and remains friends with Golden. He watched the Cardinals often last season.

He also is familiar with the makeup of the offensive line – not only that there is an opening at center but also that he has two veteran guards upon whom he can lean on in Mike Iupati and Evan Mathis.

"They know what they are doing and how to do it," Boehm said. "If I go in there and keep working hard to learn this offense and get it down, I have two great guys next to me that will be able to help."

Boehm versus Shipley will be the main offensive line question of the offseason. D.J. Humphries is expected to play right tackle, but after sitting out every game of his rookie season, Humphries too still has much to prove.

The rest of the line is set with Iupati and Mathis and left tackle Jared Veldheer.

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