Arizona fans cringe when they think about the performance of last season's Cardinal offensive line.
It was brutal.
The Red Birds allowed 58 sacks, the most in the NFL. The Packers were a distant second with 51 sacks allowed.
Still, the team did seem to tighten up their line play in the latter part of the 2012 campaign and new head Bruce Arians is optimistic that the offensive line will continue to improve moving forward.
"I think there is talent there, especially once you get Levi (Brown) back,” Arians explained to Kent Somers of azcentral.com. “Once you get Levi back, the whole thing looks prettier.
“We had some young guys get baptized last year, who got better and better as the season went on. It’s not as near the dire straits everyone wants to make it out to be.”
Help may also be on the way via the NFL Draft in April. The Cardinals have the seventh overall pick in the first round and could very well use it to select an offensive tackle or guard. Luke Joeckel , the OT from Texas A&M, is considered to be the top lineman in the draft and possibly the best overall player on the board.
Arizona would most likely have to trade up to get Joeckel but outstanding talents like tackles Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) could be available at pick seven. Guards Chance Womack (Alabama) and Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) are also viable options.
“I mean, Chance Warmack from Alabama is the best football player I saw on tape this year,” NFL analyst Mike Mayock told azcentral.com. “And Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina is just a tiny notch behind him. As a matter of fact, Cooper's probably a better athlete.”
The Red Birds could draft one of those players and then team him with Nate Potter, Bobbie Massie and Brown and suddenly that porous line is not so porous anymore. Now we can see why Arians seems so optimistic. That would look like a legitimate NFL offensive line.
Cardinal quarterbacks would finally be able to breath a little easier then.
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