With July here and training camp scheduled to start soon, azcardinals.com will look at the Cardinals' individual position groups during this quiet time in the NFL and give our opinions about where the groups stand prior to camp. Here is the offensive line.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Hudson's absence during mandatory minicamp was not excused and the team is working through some things with the starting center. His availability -- or potential lack thereof -- swings how the Cardinals will look at this unit, and while there hasn't been anything publicly said about the situation of late, it seems certain the Cardinals have an idea which way it will play out. Pugh is set to start at left guard but will try to play center if needed. Humphries and Beachum will return, starting at left and right tackle, respectively, although there is a chance Josh Jones could push Beachum. Hernandez signed this offseason and could start at right guard, with Justin Murray a possibility. Humphries, Pugh, Beachum, and Hudson combined to allow 10 sacks in 2021.
Due to the injuries/positive Covid tests that affected the offensive line, Harlow had to suit up in different positions but mainly was productive, and for now is the backup center to Hudson. Harlow wasn't alone in his versatility as the Cardinals had nine different offensive line combinations in 2021, tying for the sixth-most in the NFL. Murray started three games at right guard before hurting his back. Smith and Hayes, the Cardinals' late 2022 draft picks, face a battle to secure roster spots. So does the 27-year-old Isidora, who spent 2021 on the practice squad and active roster before signing a future contract for this season in January.
UPGRADE ODDS: Medium
If Hudson plays, the Cardinals likely will ride with the group they have. But if he does not, even if Pugh makes sense as a replacement, the team will likely consider signing a veteran center either as starting material or needed depth.
Images of the Cardinals' offensive lineman heading into training camp.