Arizona Cardinals could trade back and still land the draft's best blocker

NFL Combine
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The Arizona Cardinals could move down a few spots in Round 1 and still come away with highly-touted offensive lineman Peter Skoronski.

A decade ago, during the 2013 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals believed they had acquired the nation's best offensive lineman. Jonathan Cooper, a stud guard out of the University of North Carolina, was taken by former general manager Steve Keim with the seventh-overall selection. Unfortunately, the 6 foot 2, 308 pound Cooper broke his leg during the Cards' third preseason contest and never lived up to the tremendous hype that comes with being a first-round pick.

Monti Ossenfort, Keim's replacement, could find himself in a similar situation when the three-day event gets underway next week. Many draft experts believe that Arizona's first-year GM will be coaxed into moving down from the opening round's third-overall slot. Even if Ossenfort were to trade back four or five spots, the Redbirds could still be in the running for a blocker who's even more highly-ranked than Cooper was when he came out of college.

Peter Skoronski, a Unanimous All-American out of Northwestern University, could very well be the most talented offensive lineman that the 2023 draft class has to offer. While most of the first-round talk has centered around edge-rusher Will Anderson Jr., other valuable prospects like Skoronski have been disregarded in the eyes of many Cardinals fans. That's interesting, considering the fact that the 6 foot 4, 315 pounder has first-year starter written all over him.

Offensive lineman Peter Skoronski would provide solid first-round value for the Arizona Cardinals

With Skoronski, the Cards would be acquiring a youngster who received First-team All-Big 10 honors twice in the past two years . The Illinois native also took home the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year award for his excellent play in 2022.

Skoronski starred at right tackle for the Wildcats, but many draft analysts believe that he'd be better off at guard when he gets to professional level. That's likely where Arizona would place him anyway, with D.J. Humphries, Josh Jones and Kelvin Beachum creating a logjam at offensive tackle. Skoronski would likely be the opening-day starter at left guard, with veteran Will Hernandez back for at least one more season on the right side.

The Cardinals organization will be in an extremely-advantageous situation on April 27th. There's a fairly good possibility that the club will come out of Round 1 with a franchise-building haul for trading down and a blue-chip prospect to boot. It would not be surprising in the least if Skoronski turns out to be the choice, and becomes the first selection of the Ossenfort era.

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