Earl Watford to Cardinals: How Does OG Fit with Arizona?

Shaun Church@@NFLChurchContributor IApril 27, 2013

With the 116th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Arizona Cardinals have selected former James Madison guard Earl Watford.

How does Watford fit what Arizona wants to do on offense?

He is an athletic player who spent most of his time at guard, though he did play some left tackle for the Dukes. He stands 6’3-3/8” and weighs 300 pounds, but he looks light for his frame. That is just a testament to his athleticism and build. He easily could add 10 to 15 pounds and not lose much—if any—quickness.

Just as first-round pick and fellow guard Jonathan Cooper did, Watford should put on weight as a rookie. Cooper played his final season at North Carolina at 285 but weighed in at the combine at 312.

Watford will eventually play left guard for head coach Bruce Arians, but the only question is when? He will need time to develop and adjust to the difference in man power the NFL brings compared to the Colonial Athletic Association in which James Madison plays.

The CAA is considered one of the top Division II conferences in football, but it still is not anything close to the NFL.

Watford could potentially require an entire season to learn the NFL game and become a viable option to replace aging and declining left guard Daryn Colledge—if not longer.

He did show the ability to overpower defensive tackles while at JMU, surrendering only one sack his senior season. But then again, we are talking about D-II talent, not SEC defenders. The Dukes did play West Virginia last season, but they do not possess a pass-rusher vaunted enough to mention, let alone to be worried about.

When he is ready, he could be a solid starter at the interior of Arizona’s line. But considering the talent general manager Steve Keim left on the board, it seems as though he could have made a better selection after trading back with the New York Giants. Arizona received New York’s sixth-round pick, No. 187, in the trade, in exchange for its No. 110 pick.

Guys like safety Shamarko Thomas, versatile offensive lineman Barrett Jones and quarterbacks Ryan Nassib and Tyler Wilson all went between picks 110 and 113. Better value from at least two of those picks may have been had.