For the past several months, fans of the Arizona Cardinals have wondered who would anchor the squad's offensive line in 2023. Now, roughly three weeks before the season-opener, that very important question appears to have been answered.
Anyone who watched Arizona's 18-17 preseason triumph over the Denver Broncos last Friday night must have been impressed with the team's starting center. Hjalte Froholdt, a free-agent addition, was absolutely outstanding in his first action with the Redbirds. The performance was so impressive, in fact, that any ongoing competition for the job appears to be over.
On a screen pass to running back Corey Clement, Froholdt completely pancaked Broncos cornerback Damarri Mathis. The 5 foot 11,195 pounder must have been shaking in his cleats when he saw the 6 foot 5, 310 pound blocker running at him with a full head of steam. Later on in the matchup with Denver, Froholdt inflicted a violent block on former Cards defensive end Zach Allen that was just as spectacular.
Hjalte Froholdt has been a pleasant surprise thus far for the Arizona Cardinals offensive line
Not a whole lot was expected out of Froholdt when he inked a two-year deal with the Cardinals back in March. After all, the 26-year-old has been credited with just six starts during his three-year NFL career. All of Froholdt's experience as a first-stringer came last season when he was a member of the Cleveland Browns.
For the past two campaigns, Arizona offensive coordinator Drew Petzing got an up-close and personal look at Froholdt. The 36-year-old Petzing served as both the quarterbacks and tight ends coach for the Browns during that time, and is well aware of what the offensive lineman can do. In fact, the Cards assistant could be responsible for the enormous opportunity that Froholdt has been handed in the desert.
There are a couple of other centers on the Cardinals roster who were expected to give Froholdt a run for his money. Pat Elflein, another free-agent acquisition, has 64 starts on his professional resume. Jon Gaines II, a fourth-round draft pick from this past April, started contests at guard, tackle and center at UCLA.
At the present time, Froholdt appears to be separating himself from the competition. If he continues to perform like he did against the Broncos, Arizona's starting center gig will belong solely to the native of Denmark.