The Arizona Cardinals addressed their quarterback spot with the signings of Drew Stanton and Brian Hoyer, along with the Carson Palmer trade this offseason. The improved play of left tackle Levi Brown down the stretch in 2011 and right tackle Bobby Massie down the stretch in 2012, decreased the need at the offensive tackle spot, but a gaping hole at guard pushed new general manager Steve Keim to take North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper with pick No. 7 in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The 2012 first-team All-ACC selection adds a real boost for the Cardinals’ interior offensive line, which has proven a brutal weakness that has led to the constant harassment of erstwhile staring quarterbacks, including Kevin Kolb before he was knocked out early last season. Cooper proves an instant upgrade at either guard sport. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock raved, “This is as good an interior player (with his) feet that I’ve seen in years.”
New head coach Bruce Arians has predicated the success of his offenses with the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers on allowing long pass routes to develop and hitting deep. Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger made hay in the short game as well, but hitting on those shot plays and longer routes is staple of Arians’ scheme. Palmer has he arm to do that and now perhaps with Cooper, Massie and a healthy Brown, Palmer will have the time to do that.
This should also provide a boost to a running game that’s been stunted by poor push along with injuries to 2011 first-round pick Ryan Williams.
For more information on Jonathan Cooper check out his 2013 NFL Draft Profile here!