ARIZONA CARDINALS

PFF: Arizona Cardinals’ projected O-line near bottom of NFL

Jul 13, 2018, 7:20 AM | Updated: 7:11 pm
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Even with the Arizona Cardinals adding new faces to the trenches, one website is projecting the offensive line close to the bottom of the NFL barrel.

Using factors such as past performance grades, college evaluations and age projections, Pro Football Focus compiled a preseason offensive line ranking, and the Cardinals’ projected lineup of A.Q. Shipley, Mike Iupati, D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh and Andre Smith ranked 27th.

While the line has a different look in 2018, one of the biggest reasons for the low rank might come as little surprise to anyone familiar with the team.

This group will look much different than the 2017 version – which can’t be a bad thing. The only problem is that this group – more than maybe any other in the NFL – has serious injury concerns. Almost every starter has missed significant time in each of the past two seasons and the Cardinals don’t exactly have quality depth to make up for it. If Mike Iupati, Justin Pugh and Andre Smith all return back to their career-best form, this could be a top-10 group. The odds of that happening, or even them playing all 16 games, seems incredibly slim after all the injuries they’ve suffered.

Out of the linemen only Shipley managed to make it a full 16 games in 2017. Iupati (one game played), Pugh (eight), Humphries (five) and Smith (13) all missed multiple games last year.

While the ranking is less than ideal, the moves the team made in the offseason did move the needle slightly from last season.

After the Cardinals offensive line started ranked No. 17 in PFF’s 2017 preaseaon rankings, they fell all the way to No. 31 by the end of the year. It was no surprise.

Partially because of injuries, Arizona had 217 pressures surrendered with seven different linemen allowing two or more sacks, according to PFF.

Pair that with losing starting running back David Johnson and the cards were really stacked against the O-line.

Looking at the NFC West as a whole, PFF ranked the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive front at No. 10, the San Francisco 49ers 16th and the Seattle Seahawks 30th.

The Philadelphia Eagles took home the top spot in the NFL with tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce highlighting the group, while the Houston Texans held down the No. 32 spot for a second year straight.

Below are the grades for each projected starter:

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PFF: Arizona Cardinals’ projected O-line near bottom of NFL