Friday, March 28, 2014
What will the Cards do at right tackle?
By Josh Weinfuss
With every passing day, the question of who will be the Arizona Cardinals' starting right tackle becomes harder to answer.
They parted ways with veteran Eric Winston, after initially showing interest in him prior to the start of free agency, leaving Arizona with two options on the roster at the time: Nate Potter and Bobby Massie. When the Cardinals signed left tackle Jared Veldheer on March 12, last year's starter there, Bradley Sowell, entered the mix on the right side.
So, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has three in-house options on the right side, although it's likely that the race will come down to Massie and Sowell, who played together at the University of Mississippi. But will the starter in Week 1 this coming September emerge from that group? It's unlikely.
Winston may re-enter the picture late in the offseason or early in training camp, when he was signed last season. From what Arians has said in the past, he's been high on Sowell, which is why he entrusted him to replace Levi Brown at left tackle starting in Week 5. The numbers, however, show that Arizona may need to look other places.
Sowell ended the season as the lowest-rated offensive tackle by Pro Football Focus, a place Massie knows all too well. He was rated as the worst offensive lineman midway through the 2012 season, when he started all 16 games at right tackle. Potter has played just seven games at tackle in 2012 and '13.
Arizona won't sit idle when it comes to replacing Winston.
With left tackle and a starting cornerback solidified, the Cards can focus on a right tackle in the first few rounds of May's NFL draft. They could also go the free agency route, but according to ESPN Stats & Info, the only right tackles left on the market with significant snaps in 2013 are Tyson Clabo, Bryant McKinnie, Charles Brown, Zach Strief, Tony Pashos and David Stewart.
The Cards may find a gem in one of them later in the offseason but don't count on it.
Arizona may have to look high and low for its starting right tackle.