With the 2019 draft coming soon and the Arizona Cardinals needing to bolster their offensive line, don’t be surprised if any of these players are a Cardinal in 2019.
The Arizona Cardinals should look to strengthen their offensive line in the draft, and I have the five candidates that should fit the bill. The Cardinals were one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2018, as they allowed 3.2 sacks per game. Over the 2018 season, they allowed 52 sacks (45 on Rosen) and 109 quarterback hits, both fourth in the NFL.
Although they did add some older talent in free agency, they should infuse some youth during the draft. Here are five prospects that could do that.
Elgton Jenkins, Mississippi State
An experienced player out of Mississippi State, Elgton Jenkins would be a nice pickup for the Cardinals. He has experience at every position on the line but is probably best at center. He finished the 2018 season with a Pro Football Focus final rating of 77.6 and ranks within the top 20 in every category in all of PFF’s advanced statistics.
Jenkins is an excellent anchor in pass sets and has an outstanding ‘death’ grip when he gets a hold of defenders. He also does an excellent job of calling out blitzes and knows his role within his respective offensive scheme. It also helps that he rarely over-extends and has good balance. In 2,669 snaps, he allowed just three sacks, four quarterback hits, and 25 quarterback hurries, per PFF.
In run-blocking, that same ‘death’ grip Elgton possesses make him a threat moving down the field. He creates space for his running backs by using powerful pushes to get his opponents out of gaps. Jenkins has an uncanny ability to get to the second-level, linebackers and blitzing safeties will rarely have the advantage while trying to block-shed him.
But, Jenkins does have some knocks, specifically in his hand technique. He’s often late to get his hands on defenders, which helps him gain initial leverage. Because of the need to improve hand play, the 6-4, 310-lb center could slip out of the first round. If he does, he’d be an upgrade for the Arizona Cardinals.