Arizona Cardinals' Pick Jamell Fleming Nothing To Sneeze At; Or Is It?

By Greg Archuleta

The Arizona Cardinals have proven yet again they are allergic to selecting offensive linemen in the NFL draft.

Having passed on Iowa’s Riley Reiff, and Stanford’s David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin in the first round of the draft Thursday night for Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd was understandable because the Cardinals have a need for a wide receiver.

Arizona then proved in round three on Friday night that it wasn’t going to reach for an offensive tackle when it drafted cornerback Jamell Fleming of Oklahoma.

That now gives the Cardinals nine cornerbacks – the same amount as the number of offensive linemen they have.

Reports indicate that most NFL teams start five offensive linemen . Those same reports suggest that only two cornerbacks start, but sometimes can play three or four – the technical terms are “nickel” and “dime.”

Nothing against Fleming, whom ESPN’s Todd McShay rated as the 13th best cornerback in the draft. And the Cardinals management reiterated on the blog the need to take the best player available.

But the second-guessing already has begun. ESPN’s John Clayton called Arizona one of three losers among the franchises on Friday night.

Sure, Fleming can do more things in terms of special teams and provide depth if the Cardinals miss on him rather than an offensive lineman – say Oklahoma offensive tackle Donald Stephenson, who received the same 71 grade from Scouts.Inc as it gave Fleming.

So Cardinals fans must really hope that Arizona management has that much confidence in the offensive line it has now because the quality of tackles in the draft aren’t going to improve.

Perhaps, quarterback Kevin Kolb or John Skelton – or both – has or have made strides in their decision-making that will help Arziona cut down on the 54 sacks it allowed last season.

One thing’s for certain: Jamell Fleming won’t help the Cardinals’ offensive line needs.

That help may not come until next allergy season.

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