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Draft Primer 2015: Defensive Line

Free agent additions lower need for draft picks, but depth is always important

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Florida State's Eddie Goldman is among the top defensive tackles available in this year's class.


The NFL draft will be held from April 30 through May 2 in Chicago. The Cardinals addressed several needs in free agency and are now zeroing in on their draft targets. We'll take a look at each position over the next few weeks.

More draft analysis: LB I RB I CB I TE

Draft primer: Defensive line

Cardinals under contract: DE Calais Campbell, DE Frostee Rucker; DT Corey Peters; DE Ed Stinson; DE Cory Redding; DE Josh Mauro; DT Alameda Ta'amu

Need: Medium

Images of the defensive linemen projected to get drafted

Analysis: The Cardinals beefed up their line in free agency by adding defensive tackle Corey Peters and defensive end Cory Redding, but also lost defensive tackles Darnell Dockett, Dan Williams and Tommy Kelly. General Manager Steve Keim puts a premium on depth at this spot, so the team could add a player in the draft.

Defensive tackle seems like the more pressing need. Peters can play nose tackle, but he's also versatile enough to move around

and adding a player there would give the Cards more flexibility. Alameda Ta'amu is a wild card, as he excelled two seasons ago rotating with Williams at nose tackle but was a non-factor in 2014 as he made his way back from a torn ACL. USC's Leonard Williams and Washington's Danny Shelton are projected to be picked before the Cardinals choose at No. 24, but options may include Texas' Malcom Brown or Florida State's Eddie Goldman.

Calais Campbell will see the majority of time at one defensive end spot, while Frostee Rucker, Ed Stinson, Redding and Josh Mauro should prove capable in a rotation (and Kareem Martin could move back if he proves ineffective at outside linebacker). Rucker and Redding are in the back half of their careers, so if the Cardinals want to get younger at the spot, players like Oregon's Arik Armstead, UCLA's Owamagbe Odighizuwa or Mississippi State's Preston Smith could be early options.

The Cardinals had many players who shifted between the edge and the interior of the defensive line in 2014, and the current personnel could probably make it work again if needed. Keim won't need to reach to add a defensive lineman, but also won't hesitate to pull the trigger if there is one he is excited about.



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