Will the Arizona Cardinals Feed Us a Line?

By Greg Archuleta

At what point does football no longer start up front?

All mock drafts indicate that either of Stanford’s offensive linemen – tackle Jonathan Martin or guard David DeCastro – will be available when the Arizona Cardinals are on the clock with the No. 13 pick overall in the NFL draft.

But several mock drafts indicate that the Cardinals will go after Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd. Other pundits are wondering in print whether Arizona should trade down if Iowa tackle Riley Reiff isn’t available – which he likely won’t be.

If the Cardinals have a master plan and can trade down, get the player they want and still address other needs, more power to them.

But this is a team that allowed 54 sacks in 2011 and still finished 8-8. Arizona just re-signed quarterback Kevin Kolb after flirting with Peyton Manning.

The Cardinals also re-signed wide receiver Early Doucet to play opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Why do that if they are looking for a wide receiver in the draft.

Besides, what good does it do the Cardinals to have Floyd – or Fitzgerald for that matter – running around free if Kolb or John Skelton is lying flat on his back because of a lack of protection? Seems fairly obvious that the more time Kolb has, the more effective any wideout will be – including Doucet.

Arizona’s unwillingness to draft an offensive lineman the last few years adds to the intrigue of its potential pick; defense is another option for the Cardinals, who need a defensive end and an outside linebacker.

If the Cardinals bolster their defensive line, they still will be adhering to the age-old “it starts up front” theory. They likely won’t end up with as sexy a selection as Floyd, but they’ll be trying to get more control of the line of scrimmage.

In any football vernacular, control of the line of scrimmage is the key to having success. Offensive line seems to be the bigger need.

Unless the NFL, unlike any other level of football, doesn’t start up front.

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