The Arizona Cardinals offensive unit could thrive thanks to an offensive line that will essentially remain the same in 2022
One of the most underrated aspects of the 2021 Arizona Cardinals was the solid play of the offensive line.
The main reason for the contingent’s success was Rodney Hudson, the stud center who was acquired last year in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders. It was a massive upgrade at the position for the Cardinals, who managed to replace the mediocre Mason Cole with a three-time Pro Bowler.
Arizona will attempt to parlay the success that the blocking unit enjoyed last fall into another stellar performance in 2022. However, continuity is an offensive line’s best friend, and it looks as if the team will be bringing back at least 80% of the group that gelled so well last season.
Four offensive line starters from last season will return for the Arizona Cardinals in 2022
Joining Hudson for the upcoming campaign are three veteran linemen with whom Cards fans have become extremely familiar. The trio consists of a pair of bookend tackles and an interior lineman who has become a stalwart of the organization.
D.J. Humphries has experienced a complete career turnaround from the youngster who failed to dress for a single game as a rookie back in 2015. That year’s first-round draft pick (24th-overall) has transformed into a solid left tackle who has started in 48 consecutive contests for the Cardinals since the 2019 campaign.
General manager Steve Keim found a magnificent bargain back in July of 2020 when he signed Kelvin Beachum to a one-year contract. After playing most of his NFL career on the left side, the 33-year-old has become a dependable fixture at right tackle for Arizona.
Justin Pugh is now heading into his fifth season as the starting left guard for “Big Red.” The 31-year-old has been a steady performer for the Cards on the field and an outspoken leader for the club off of it.
In March, the Cardinals brought in Will Hernandez to be the squad’s starter at right guard. The former New York Giants draft selection could face some competition from Justin Murray or Josh Jones for the job, but the general feeling is that Hernandez will ward off the challenge.
Keeping together a crew of blockers that are familiar with each other was a smart move by the Arizona hierarchy. With that type of stability, the Cards can look forward to another year of outstanding play from the five men up front.