It’s no secret that the Arizona Cardinals could use an upgrade on the offensive line.
Last season, rookie guard Jonathan Cooper suffered a broken leg in the third preseason game and missed the entire season. A few weeks later, the team traded away left tackle Levi Brown to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cooper is expected to return to the field this season, but for the team that gave up 41 sacks last year, more help is needed.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah predicts the Cardinals will add that help in the upcoming NFL draft with the 20th overall selection.
“I think it’s a great group,” Jeremiah told The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Cyrus Kouandijio is the great wild card. We could be looking back three years from now and saying he is the best lineman to come out of this entire draft.”
Kouandijio is one of the four Alabama Crimson Tide juniors choosing to forgo their senior season and enter the draft. The 6-foot-5 inch prospect anchored Alabama’s offensive line in their 11-2 campaign, drawing comparisons to former teammate D.J. Fluker, who was the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft.
“When I studied him over the summer I was really excited about him.” Jeremiah said. “I thought he kind of took a step back this year, but his rare size, length and strength is off the charts and very raw.
“We had a good group of tackles last year and another one this year.”
Jeremiah also talked highly of Taylor Lewan, an offensive tackle coming out of the University of Michigan who is projected to be a first round pick.
“Taylor Lewan is the best one of the bunch in my opinion,” Jeremiah said. “He’s got plenty of size at 6-foot-7 and he’ll move around better than people think. He can play on the left or right and he’s just a solid player.”
Included in his list of prospective draft picks for the Cardinals was 6-foot-4 inch Zack Martin of Notre Dame.
“He can play inside or outside,” Jeremiah said. “Some people feel he might be better off playing guard.”
In his most current mock draft, Jeremiah has the Cardinals selecting Morgan Moses in the first round. Jeremiah describes the tackle as a “fast riser.”
“He’s played a lot of football at Virginia,” he said. “He’s another guy that everyone viewed as a right tackle but he went down to the Senior Bowl and convinced a lot of people he can play on the left side.”