Florida tackle D.J. Humphries could be on the board when the Cardinals are picking in the first round.
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.
Draft primer: Offensive line
Cardinals under contract:T Jared Veldheer; G Mike Iupati; T Bobby Massie; G Jonathan Cooper; C/G Ted Larsen; C/G A.Q. Shipley; G Earl Watford; T Bradley Sowell; G Anthony Steen; T Kelvin Palmer; G Antoine McClain; G John Fullington; T Cameron Bradfield; T Tavon Rooks
Images of the offensive linemen projected to be selected in this year's NFL draft
Analysis: The Cardinals bulked up their offensive line by adding Pro Bowl left guard Mike Iupati to the fold in free agency. He is expected to pair with left tackle Jared Veldheer as a strong blindside duo, and former first-round pick Jonathan Cooper will slide to right guard, where he hopes to establish himself after injuries stunted his progress the past two seasons. Bobby
Massie held down the right tackle spot last season and is set to return in that role, although he will be a free agent at the end of the year. The center position is in flux following the release of veteran Lyle Sendlein, with the current plan allowing Ted Larsen and free agent addition A.Q. Shipley to battle it out for the starting role.
The Cardinals have a lot of money invested in Veldheer, Iupati and Cooper, so a draft addition would likely come at center or right tackle. Florida State's Cameron Erving is the lone center projected to get selected in the first round, while Oregon's Hroniss Grasu, Auburn's Reese Dismukes and Kansas State's B.J. Finney could be had in later rounds.
Iowa's Brandon Scherff, Miami's Ereck Flowers and LSU's La'el Collins are the tackles projected to be gone before the Cards choose at No. 24, while Stanford's Andrus Peat, Pittsburgh's T.J. Clemmings and Florida's D.J. Humphries could be possibilities if they are on the board. Massie was rated about average among offensive tackles in 2014, per Pro Football Focus, so if General Manager Steve Keim likes one in the first round, he has to weight the potential long-term upgrade versus filling a bigger need for 2015.
The offensive line could be another best-player-available scenario, where Keim pounces if he likes a prospect or passes to shore up other areas depending how the draft shakes out.