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Draft Primer 2024: Offensive Line

After an emphasis on the trenches during free agency, there's still a need for young talent


The Cardinals have been at the center of the NFL draft conversation for weeks, sitting at the top of the league with the most picks (six) within the first 90 selections of the draft. There's a lot of areas the Cardinals will look to address through the draft. General manager Monti Ossenfort's first draft was a success, adding multiple full-time starters and role players that played meaningful snaps. He will look to replicate that performance when the Cardinals are on the clock. Before the draft kicks off on April 25th, let's take a look at each position group and see how the Cardinals may use the draft to evaluate their needs.

Primer schedule: CB April 15; ILB April 16; Edge April 17; S April 18; DL April 19

Draft primer: Offensive line

Previous primers: WR, QB, TE, RB

Players under contract: OT Jonah Williams, OT Paris Johnson Jr., C Hjalte Froholdt, RG Will Hernandez, LG Elijah Wilkinson, LG Trystan Colon, OT Kelvin Beachum, G/C Evan Brown, G Dennis Daley, G Jon Gaines II, G Keith Ismael, OT Jackson Barton, G Marquis Hayes, G Carter O'Donnell, G Austen Pleasants

Need: High

The Cardinals' situation: Free agency doubled down on Ossenfort's vision of building from within the trenches. The Cardinals added Jonah Williams to serve as one of the bookend tackles, pairing him with Paris Johnson Jr. Excluding Evan Brown, who was with the Seahawks, the Cardinals' other free agency moves on the offensive line were centered around retaining members from the 2023 roster. Center Hjalte Froholdt and guard Will Hernandez, two key lineman in running back James Conner's 1,000 yard season, will look to run it back in 2024.

The draft class: If there was ever a draft class that featured a boatload of top tier offensive line prospects, this is it. The leaders in the clubhouse are likely to be offensive tackles Joe Alt from Notre Dame and Penn State's Olu Fashanu. There are other tackles like Washington's Troy Fautanu that are ranked highly but might transition to guard, finding themselves as a big presence on the interior. Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson and Duke's Graham Barton are other interior lineman projected to hear their name in the first round.

The conclusion: Similar to the running back situation, majority of the Cardinals offensive lineman will become free agents in 2025. Only Johnson, Williams, and Gaines will be under contract once the season comes to an end. That's a lot of potential holes for a unit that tasked with blocking for franchise quarterback Kyler Murray. There's a need to address the left guard position and focus on the future of the trenches. The offensive line already has a lot of starting experience in the room, but it might be wise to bring in rookie pieces that could learn from some of the veterans in the room.

A look at some of the top offensive lineman entering the 2024 NFL Draft.