ARIZONA CARDINALS

PFF: If there’s a strength for 2023 Cardinals, look to the O-line

May 28, 2023, 6:56 AM | Updated: 8:09 am

It’s not hard to scan the Arizona Cardinals’ roster at this point in time and find what’s clearly the strongest position group.

While there are questions about scheme fit and injury returns across the board for first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon, it’s the offensive line that should provide him with some sense of calm.

Pro Football Focus broke down each NFL team’s strength and weakness to give a preview of the league, and the Cardinals’ only known factor is what should be a relatively solid offensive line.

Arizona’s 71.6 pass-blocking grade in 2022 was good for 13th in the league. D.J. Humphries, Will Hernandez, Kelvin Beachum and Josh Jones all put up 75.0-plus pass-blocking grades. The Cardinals suddenly have a glut of starting-caliber tackles at their disposal. Jones and rookie Paris Johnson Jr. have some versatility, so one of them will likely slide inside. The Cardinals’ offensive line isn’t as bad as some narratives make it out to be.

There’s even enough talent on the offensive line to wonder if Arizona’s rebuild could include a trade of a tackle.

ESPN’s Mina Kimes along with Robert Mays on The Mina Kimes Show tabbed rookie first-round pick Johnson as the Cardinals’ X-factor, and that’s because the Ohio State lineman joins a group that includes three starting-caliber tackles. The podcasters wondered if the Cardinals could trade Humphries, though they don’t believe there’s a strong market for starting-caliber tackles NFL-wide.

Beachum surprisingly re-signed on the rebuilding team this offseason to join Humphries, who is coming off a back injury that ended his 2022 campaign early. With him injured, 2020 third-round choice Josh Jones got reps at left tackle and held up well.

The big questions are at center, where Rodney Hudson looks to retirement while leaving a large hole. But there’s also an opening at left guard, where current free agent Justin Pugh has not been replaced with an obvious candidate to start. Johnson, who has guard experience, could vie for that starting role. Jones also has guard reps in his back pocket on the right side.

Those along with Humphries’ availability coming off injury — he sounded on track when he joined Wolf & Luke this week on Arizona Sports — are mild questions compared to other roster issues facing the Cardinals at the moment.

Who knows which backup quarterback will have confidence in that offensive line to begin 2023? Who knows if safety Budda Baker will suit up for Arizona to start next year? And who knows if former first-round picks Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons are starting, playing or considered inside linebackers as they were a year ago?

Arizona Cardinals

Budda Baker looks on...

Arizona Sports

Where did Cardinals S Budda Baker rank among NFL players’ top 100 for 2024?

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker on Monday found his name once again on the NFL Network's annual list of top 100 players.

10 hours ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Is Kyler Murray a darkhorse MVP candidate + surprising Wolf with a custom t-shirt

Is Kyler Murray a darkhorse MVP candidate + surprising Wolf with a custom t-shirt.

15 hours ago

Starling Thomas catches a ball during Cardinals OTAs...

Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals training camp battles: CB1

The battle for CB1 and the remaining starting roles in the Cardinals secondary may take the cake for the most impactful this training camp.

16 hours ago

Marvin Harrison Jr. at Cardinals rookie minicamp...

Bailey Leasure

ESPN: Cardinals’ Marvin Harrison Jr. one of the most intriguing players in 2024

ESPN's Dan Graziano has Cardinals' wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. as one of the most intriguing players headed into the 2024 NFL season.

3 days ago

Cardinals ILB Mack Wilson Sr. high fives Tyreek Maddox-Williams...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Mack Wilson Sr. ready to prove naysayers wrong: ‘This is just the beginning’

Cardinals LB Mack Wilson Sr. is feeling renewed entering Year 6 even if those around the league still aren't given him the proper respect.

3 days ago

Trey Benson participates in the 2024 NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals training camp battles: Trey Benson vs. Michael Carter

The battle at RB2 between rookie Trey Benson and veteran Michael Carter could end being one of the tightest this training camp.

3 days ago

PFF: If there’s a strength for 2023 Cardinals, look to the O-line