Sunday, April 29, 2012
First impressions: 2012 Cardinals draft
By Mike Sando
First impressions on the Arizona Cardinals' performance in the 2012 NFL draft:
What I liked: The Cardinals appeared to resist reaching to fill needs. The approach left Arizona with a huge need for an offensive tackle heading into the third day, but with no second-round choice entering this draft, the Cardinals lacked flexibility. They stayed patient amid criticism and drew high marks for landing Mississippi tackle Bobby Massie in the fourth round. We don't know whether Massie will become a good player, but we do know some had him rated as a potential second-round choice, and Arizona got him in the fourth.
Question marks: The team's decision to acquire Kevin Kolb last offseason hung over this draft. The Kolb trade gave the Cardinals' second-round choice to Philadelphia, preventing Arizona from seriously considering any of the four offensive tackles teams drafted in the round. Mitchell Schwartz (Cleveland Browns), Jonathan Martin (Miami Dolphins) and Jeff Allen were gone before Arizona would have chosen, but Mike Adams (Pittsburgh Steelers) was still there. Martin and Allen went within four choices of Arizona's slot in the round, close enough for the Cardinals to have considered trading up, had they still possessed the pick.
Trending: Arizona and Tennessee are the only teams to have drafted zero offensive linemen in the first three rounds over the past five drafts. Both teams lean on Hall of Fame guards to coach up the position, but the Cardinals in particular haven't had enough young linemen to develop. That changed in this draft. The Cardinals selected three offensive linemen after drafting zero in any round over the previous two drafts. That's a start, even if the team didn't take one early.
Veteran put on alert: Kolb. The Cardinals used their first-round pick for receiver Michael Floyd. Running back Ryan Williams, a second-round choice last year, will be returning from injury. Arizona drafted Massie to stabilize the line. With five of seven picks going for offense, including one to select a developmental quarterback, it's time for Kolb to produce.