The Arizona Cardinals suffered from some of the league’s worst interior blocking last year and went about addressing that immediately in the 2013 NFL Draft by taking North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper at seventh overall.
The previous regime made a much less concerted effort in boosting this area by merely signing and plugging in right guard Adam Snyder via free agency, which did not work at all. The new group headed by first-time NFL head coach Bruce Arians and general manager John Keim should find much more offensive success behind a line that, if healthy, projects as underrated and decent with LT Levi Brown, LG Daryn Colledge, C Rich Sendlein, RG Cooper and RT Bobby Massie — the latter being the team’s fourth-round selection last year who improved greatly down the stretch.
An LSU block ensued with the selections of ILB Kevin Minter and defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. Hopefully budding star and fellow Tigers CB Patrick Peterson can keep Mathieu on the straight and narrow.
“There’s a risk-reward scenario here,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock after the Mathieu pick. “What a great opportunity for this young man. He’s going to have a chance to go and use Patrick Peterson as a mentor. There’s not a whole lot of cornerbacks there, and I smell opportunity for Tyrann Mathieu.”
Alex Okafor gives Arizona another force off the edge, where the Cards didn’t get much last year outside of DE Calais Campbell. Earl Watford adds offensive line depth and Stepfan Taylor could potentially see significant time if their injury-prone backfield (Ryan Williams, Rashard Mendenhall) hits the sideline.
Picks: Cooper (1-7), Minter (2-13), Mathieu (3-7), Okafor (4-6), (4-19), Taylor (5-7), Ryan Swope (6-6), Andre Ellington (6-19), D.C. Jefferson (7-13)