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Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line Possibilities in 2012

Kevin MeekerContributor IIJanuary 24, 2012

Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line Possibilities in 2012

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    The offensive line is the big topic among Cardinals fans this offseason.

    This is a unit that gave up 54 sacks, the second most in the league.

    They were penalized 20 times, though it seemed like much more.

    The consensus is that Levi Brown has run his course in Arizona, and if he wants to return to the team, he must do it at a much cheaper price.

    Here’s a quick look at possibilities for how the Cardinals O-Line will look in 2012.

No Change

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    LT: Levi Brown
    LG: Daryn Colledge
    C: Lyle Sendlein
    RG: Rex Hadnot
    RT: Brandon Keith

     

    This unit played much better in the second half of 2011 and would get a chance to come back and prove their worth in 2012.

    If Levi Brown returns to the Cardinals, it must be at a much cheaper rate. His salary is enough for two more solid players, and the Cardinals know that.

    Brandon Keith showed flashes of potential throughout 2011 and played fairly decently for a seventh-round pick.

    Colledge is settling in at the guard position after taking over for the retired Alan Faneca. He is looking more and more like a great free-agent pickup from last season.

    Although there is a chance this could happen, it seems less likely a possibility as others.

Draft Addition

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    LT: Riley Reiff/Jonathan Martin/Mike Adams
    LG: Daryn Colledge/David DeCastro
    C: Lyle Sendlein
    RG: Brandon Keith/David DeCastro
    RT: Levi Brown

     


    Just about every mock draft you see has Cardinals using their first-round pick on an offensive lineman—their most glaring need.

    Riley Reiff will most likely be gone by the time the Cardinals are on the clock, but he could fall.

    Jonathan Martin could also be gone, but is more likely than Reiff on the board at  No. 13.

    Mike Adams may seem like a stretch at the pick, but he has been rising up draft boards.

    DeCastro isn’t a tackle, but he has been called the best interior offensive lineman prospect in a decade, and who doesn’t like the sound of that?

    Brown is better on the right side, and Keith is a bigger body who gets a chance to start at guard.

Free Agent Heavy

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    LT: Jared Gaither
    LG: Carl Nicks/Ben Grubbs
    C: Lyle Sendlein
    RG: Daryn Colledge
    RT: Levi Brown

     

    Gaither usually isn’t the kind of guy Coach Whisenhunt likes to bring into the locker room, but there is no denying his talent and potential.

    He would be an immediate upgrade over Brown.

    Nicks and Grubbs could be huge additions to the running game and could help Beanie/Ryan Williams have career years.

    Although this is an expensive move and quickly eats away the Cardinals cap room, it would be very popular among the fans and could let the Cardinals use their first-round pick on something other than the line.

Any Combination of Draft Plus Free Agency

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    Examples


    LT: Jared Gaither
    LG: Daryn Colledge
    C: Lyle Sendlein
    RG: Levi Brown
    RT: Jonathan Martin/Riley Reiff/Mike Adams

     

    Brown clearly isn’t getting it done at left tackle and never looked great protecting Leinart/Warner on the right side.

    I think his best position should be inside at guard, where he could push people around instead of absorbing outside pass rushers.

    As nice as it would be to add a top-tier guard like Ben Grubbs or Carl Nicks, tackle is the position that needs the biggest upgrade.

    Unless Reiff, Martin and Adams are all gone by round three, it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals drafting anything other than an addition to their O-Line.

    Whoever they draft should also get the chance to play right away.

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