Monday, February 24, 2014
Tackles in Cards' range separate themselves
By Josh Weinfuss
Picking 20th in May's NFL draft doesn't bode well for the Arizona Cardinals landing a top-tier offensive tackle, especially after the way some of them performed during the NFL combine.
But that's not to say the Cards won't have their pick of the litter when it comes to improving at left tackle. Although it's by no means scientific, a handful of tackles have been linked to the Cardinals by various experts, draftniks and mock drafts.
Here's how six offensive tackles who may still be around at No. 20 or later for Arizona fared at the combine:
All six of these tackles showed their athleticism, but how often does a tackle take off to block 40 yards? Speed isn't a major factor, but the three-cone drill times are something to look at because that shows a player's agility.
Based on their numbers, Notre Dame's Zack Martin may have had the best all-around combine out of this group, which the Cardinals will most likely be choosing from -- if, and it needs to be said, Arizona doesn't sign a tackle in free agency. Martin's biggest knock is his size. At 6-foot-4, he's giving up a few inches to Henderson and Kouandjio and with 32 7/8-inch arms, Martin's reach is the shortest of this group. But he's reliable, as he showed at Notre Dame, and clearly athletic, which could make up for his lack of size when it comes to deflecting the new breed of defensive ends from getting to Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer.
Ohio State's Jack Mewhort also had strong numbers, with the second-fastest shuttle drill and the second-longest broad jump, which put his lower-body strength on display. Mewhort may have improved his stock at the combine because at 6-foot-6 and 309 pounds -- which can easily be changed with an NFL weight plan -- his arms are 34 inches long, meaning he has the quickness and length to block.
Henderson impressed with his 40 time but didn't show great agility while Kouandjio has a lot of upside and could be a project for a team. He has a lot of lower-body strength, according to his numbers from the combine, but his quickness doesn't seem to be appealing.