The consensus among experts — and those who pass themselves off as experts — is that the Arizona Cardinals will draft an offensive lineman with the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL Draft Thursday.
They (media and fans) point to the team’s lack of activity in free agency to upgrade the position, aside from the signing of veteran guard Chilo Rachal.
They point to the league-high 58 sacks allowed last season.
That, they say, makes the Cardinals desperate for an offensive lineman.
“I’m not a believer that we need offensive linemen desperately like everybody else thinks,” head coach Bruce Arians said this week. “Not that we could never use more help, but I like what we have.”
What Arians has are two veterans returning (Daryn Colledge, Adam Snyder), two starters returning from injury (Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein) and two players who gained valuable experience their rookie seasons because of the aforementioned injuries (Bobby Massie, Nate Potter).
Also, Arians is quick to point out that not every sack is the fault of the offensive line.
“When you look at a total number of sacks, there are a lot of people involved in sacks,” he said. “The offensive line might have blocked everybody and there was still a sack. So, who gets the blame? The offensive line. A lot of times there’s tight ends, there’s running backs (who miss blocks); it was the quarterback holding onto the ball or not getting it out of his hand in time, sacking himself from ghost pressure.
“The barometer is those last six games when there were very few sacks (14),” Arians continued. “I look at that, at the young guys progressing plus everybody playing a little bit better in that phase because they were throwing the football a ton. When you throw it that many times, you are going to have some sacks but 58 is way too many.”
So are Arians’ comments this week nothing more than a smokescreen?
With a draft considered so deep in talented offensive linemen — whether it be tackles Eric Fisher, Luke Joekel and Lane Johnson or guards Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack — the Cardinals would be foolish not to select one, right?
It should be noted the Cardinals have not drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since 2007.
Does the streak end Thursday night?