The Cardinals think they took two big steps in addressing the offensive line by re-signing left tackle Levi Brown and adding guard Adam Snyder. There is no guarantee Brown will stay on the left side. He could move to right tackle if the Cardinals take a left tackle in the draft.
Snyder replaces Rex Hadnot, who started every game last season. He was released.
The return of Brown, who signed a five-year contract, is interesting. At mid-season of 2011, it didn't appear there was any way he would be back. A fifth overall pick in 2007, Brown struggled in pass protection throughout his career.
But he played better in the second half of the season. The Cardinals didn't see better options available in free agency, so Brown returned.
Snyder started 13 games last season for the 49ers and played a key role in their strong running game.
He's versatile, having taken snaps at each one of the five offensive line positions in his seven years with the 49ers.
The Cardinals have him penciled in at right guard. That doesn't figure to change, but it's possible, based on what the team does in the draft.
The team also re-signed receiver Early Doucet to a two-year deal. It's an under-the-radar move but an important one. While technically the team's third receiver, Doucet finished second last year in receptions. He dropped a few key passes, but overall, it was his best season since entering the league in 2008.
1. Offensive tackle: This could become less of a priority should the Cardinals sign a free agent or two. The starters from last year, Levi Brown and Brandon Keith, are free agents. And even if they return, the team needs to look for an upgrade. With the 13th overall selection, they should be able to fill this need if they so choose.
2. Guard: Maybe Adam Snyder, signed as a free agent, can start on the right side. Or maybe the Cardinals move him to right tackle and draft a guard. They will have a shot at the draft's best guard, Stanford's David DeCastro, in the first round. He would be hard to pass up.
3. Defensive end/outside linebacker: The starters are young and talented but depth is a concern. The Cardinals have had trouble acquiring and developing outside linebackers and they need to flood the position. The team also needs to start bringing along a young defensive end.