ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals could trade up to pick OL prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft

Mar 3, 2024, 4:00 PM

Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, Mar...

Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Offensive line took center stage on Sunday at the 2024 NFL Combine with several players putting up standout performances at a position of need for the Arizona Cardinals.

However, if the draft plays out how most experts expect, the Cardinals and general manager Monti Ossenfort might have to trade up from the No. 27 pick to snatch one of coveted hog mollies.

The overwhelming consensus is that the Cardinals will take wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. with the No. 4 selection, which might leave them out of contention for a top OL prospect before their second choice pops up.

But with six picks in the first three rounds, the Cardinals have the ammo to replicate the Houston Texans formula in trading up to pick twice in the top five last year. That move launched the Houston franchise from last place in the AFC South to a playoff berth.

Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon expressed his infatuation with the offensive line position to Wolf & Luke on Friday and with tackle D.J. Humphries shelved to start the season due to an ACL injury, the Cardinals could use reinforcements up front.

“We met with a lot of O-lineman and I would say that I think O-line is my spirit animal,” Gannon said.

The Cardinals have been linked to tackles J.C. Latham and Joe Alt in a handful of mock drafts at the their current position with the No. 4 pick, but the latest mock draft by Mel Kiper Jr. has Latham going at No. 5 and Alt at No. 7.

There are four offensive tackles at the position group that grade higher than others in Alabama’s Latham (6.70 grade), Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu (6.50 grade), Notre Dame’s Alt (6.49 grade) and Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga (6.48 grade), according to NFL.com.

Latham’s measurables at 342 pounds, 35-1/8-inch arm length and 11-inch hand size were all larger than the other three prospects. Alt was slightly taller at 6-foot-9 compared to Latham’s 6-foot-6.

Alt had the fastest 40-yard dash time of the four clocking in at 5.05 seconds in the sprint.

The record for offensive tackles drafted in the first round is seven. That record could be matched this year as Kiper Jr. has seven tackles taken in the first round of his latest mock.

While the concept of trading up and taking two offensive players overhaul’s that side of the football for the Cardinals, it neglects needs on the defensive side which is seen as Gannons specialty.

Regardless, with six picks in the first three rounds, the possibility for maneuvering up in the draft is a distinct possibility that has proven success thanks to the Texans’ blueprint last season.

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