Why the Arizona Cardinals offensive line can be elite in 2023

The Arizona Cardinals offensive line could be the reason this team performs better than many are expecting in 2023, and for several reasons.
Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries (74) blocks against Seattle Seahawks linebacker
Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries (74) blocks against Seattle Seahawks linebacker / Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY

The Arizona Cardinals have plenty of experience lining up at offensive line this season, with D.J. Humphries heading into his ninth season, Kelvin Beachum starting his 12th, Pat Elflein in his seventh, and Will Hernandez, his sixth. Combined, they will have 34 years of experience, while rookie Paris Johnson sidles in as arguably the group’s most talented puzzle piece. 

But even if injuries strike the unit, they also have more than a fair share of capable backups including Hjalte Froholdt, Josh Jones, Elijah Wilkinson, Dennis Daley, Jon Gaines II, and Lecitus Smith. No, not all of them will earn a spot on the final roster, but by taking one look at the aforementioned names, it’s not farfetched to suspect the Cardinals will see little drop-off should one of the projected starting five go down with an injury. 

Arizona Cardinals offensive line could be one of the league’s better units

Combine not only overall experience playing in the league, but also starting experience among four of the Cardinals five projected starters, and the line has the potential to be a formidable force. This is good news for what will be an underwhelming running backs room should James Conner go down with an injury - assuming general manager Monti Ossenfort doesn’t add another piece to the roster in the near future.

With an experienced unit comprising four proven starters and a top-notch rookie, Conner and Company should move the sticks often. This will organically translate to success in the passing game, even if fans are relegated to watching Colt McCoy and Clayton Tune throw the ball early on. 

Once Kyler Murray makes his big return, he too will benefit from having enough time to scramble outside the pocket and complete passes to the likes of Trey McBride, Marquise Brown, and Michael Wilson, to name a few. While the Arizona Cardinals may not be a good team on paper, a starting line full of established NFL players plus the incoming Paris Johnson will help the Redbirds at least make things interesting.