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Cardinals Take Offensive Lineman Jon Gaines II In Fourth Round

UCLA product has played all along line in college

The Cardinals went offensive line to open Saturday's draft with UCLA's Jon Gaines II.
The Cardinals went offensive line to open Saturday's draft with UCLA's Jon Gaines II.

Offensive line was going to be a focus for the Cardinals and first-year GM Monti Ossenfort, and that came through again Saturday as the team opened the final day of the draft.

The team took UCLA guard Jon Gaines II, a player who has started a few games at the Cardinals' needed position of center.

"I think that is my biggest strength as a player -- UCLA blessed me with the opportunity to play all across the offensive line," Gaines said.

The 6-foot-4, 303-pound Gaines started two games at center in 2021, including against LSU, and three other games in the COVID-hit 2020 season. He played exclusively right guard this past season for the Bruins, but made an effort at the East-West Shrine game to play both center and left guard just to show the NFL his range.

"I can come in and wear a lot of hats," Gaines said.

Gaines joins Paris Johnson Jr. as offensive line additions. The Cardinals still have questions at center; on the current roster, Lecitus Smith and Hjalte Froholdt have worked there but only Froholdt has played there in a regular-season NFL game and he is a guard by trade.

GM Monti Ossenfort said the Cardinals are still looking not only for centers but also other positions, and on the offensive line, all those involved will need to play multiple positions.

"(Gaines) played some center for UCLA and in the all-star game, seeing him do that, (he's got) the ability to do that," assistant GM Dave Sears said. "Then his pro day, his intellect, meeting with our coaches and meeting with our scouts clearly he can handle that. He's one of the sharper guys we dealt with all spring.

"We feel Jon can contribute at two positions."

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