Cardinals open Saturday’s draft by selecting pair of offensive linemen
A day after getting quarterback Carson Palmer some help by drafting a big wide receiver, the Arizona Cardinals helped out their starting QB again with their first two picks on the third day of the NFL Draft Saturday.
The Cardinals selected Dorian Johnson, an offensive lineman from Pittsburgh, with their fourth round, 115th overall pick. They then chose offensive lineman Will Holden from Vanderbilt in the fifth round, with the 157th pick.
Johnson, a 6-foot 5-inch, 315-pounder, was a First-Team All-American his senior year. He started all 13 games for the Panthers in 2016.
Johnson spoke to the media via conference call after he was chosen, and said he knew the Cardinals were interested in him.
“I actually had a meeting and a workout with Coach [Harold] Goodwin after our Pro Day, actually I met with them — I met with the Cardinals at the (NFL Combine) as well,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he started three games at left tackle his freshman year before his team needed him at left guard. He made the switch and played at that position the rest of his collegiate career, but said he’s comfortable playing anywhere on the offensive line.
Johnson played 51 total games for Pittsburgh, starting 40 consecutive games to wrap up his collegiate career, and he was a two-time All-ACC selection (First-Team in 2016 and Second-Team in 2015).
At the Combine, Johnson was a top performer among offensive lineman, earning the fifth-best vertical jump at his position at 30.0 inches and taking second in the broad jump at 114.0 inches.
He ran a 5.27 second 40-yard dash and had 21 reps on the bench press.
Johnson said he was surprised he fell so far in the draft, but believed a condition with his liver was scaring teams away. The Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, native said he has five times more enzymes in his liver than anyone should, but he treats his condition with medication.
“I’ve had this condition my entire life. It hasn’t affected me in my playing whatsoever, but I guess a lot of teams saw it as a red flag,” Johnson said.
Holden, meanwhile, is 6-feet 7-inches tall and 311 pounds.
He primarily played offensive tackle for the Commodores, starting at the position in the last 37 games. He was named to the All-SEC OL Second-Team his senior year, a season in which he started all 13 games.
Holden, like Johnson, did well at the broad jump, leaping 111.0 inches, which was good for third-best among offensive linemen.
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