Right tackle is just one of several positions that will need to be addressed by the Arizona Cardinals front office this offseason
Not surprisingly, the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals is once again in flux. It’s hard to fathom that the man who’s responsible for the mess, Steve Keim, played the position in college. It’s true, Arizona’s general manager once played left guard for North Carolina State University.
One area of the line that will need Keim’s attention this offseason is the right tackle spot. Management thought that they had bought some time at the slot last year, when they inked Andre Smith to a two-year deal. However, it didn’t take long for Keim and company to realize that they had made a mistake by acquiring the veteran.
Smith couldn’t even make it through one season. The 6’4, 325 pounder’s ineffective play led to his release on November 26th. In all, four different Cardinals got starts at right tackle in 2018, a scenario that the club would obviously like to avoid next fall.
One in-house candidate who may be given a chance to fill the void is Korey Cunningham. Last April’s seventh-round draft pick saw time at left tackle in ’18, and could quite possibly get a look on the right side this year.
Free agency is another avenue that the Cards could travel down to find their next right tackle. Ja’Wuan James, a former first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins, could be a target. The 26-year old has started 58 games in the NFL, after a standout career at the University of Tennessee.
Old friend Jared Veldheer could also be a possibility. Sean Kugler, the 31-year old’s position coach with the Denver Broncos, has been hired by Arizona to coach the offensive line. Could that entice Veldheer to find his way back to the desert, a year after he was traded to Denver by Keim?
There’s also another ex-Cardinal who may be looking for work when the free agency period begins in March. Bobby Massie left the Redbirds for the Chicago Bears back in 2016, and has started 46 contests in the “Windy City”. The 29-year old was a fourth-round pick of the Cards in 2012, and remains a viable contributor.
Jordan Mills has started 53 games over the past four campaigns for the Buffalo Bills. The 28-year old was a fifth-round pick of the Bears in 2013, starting all 16 contests as a rookie. Mills would be an intriguing pickup for an Arizona squad that’s in dire need of some stability at the tackle spots.
Of course, this coming April’s draft could ultimately supply the Cardinals with a right tackle. Prospects include Ohio State’s Isaiah Prince, Wisconsin’s David Edwards, Washington’s Kaleb McGary and Missouri’s Paul Adams.
The Cards’ GM certainly has his work cut out for him in the coming months. The offensive line could very well be Keim’s main priority. Perhaps this will be the offseason that the former left guard gets the blocking unit right.