Ken Whisenhunt (Getty)
With free agency winding down, the Arizona Cardinals’ focus now turns to the 2010 NFL Draft. While Arizona has lost several key players, general manager Rod Graves and company have done an outstanding job of replenishing the depth chart. With the draft less than a month away, Brad Wilbricht previews which directions the Cardinals will go come this April.
After losing linebackers Karlos Dansby, Monty Beisel, and Chike Okeafor the Arizona Cardinals main focus in this year’s draft was expected to be at the linebacker position. However, the free-agent signings of Joey Porter and Paris Lenon could allow the Cardinals to focus on other areas of need. In addition to Porter and Lenon, Arizona will also have the services of second-year LB Cody Brown who missed all of 2009 with a wrist injury.
After addressing the linebacker position, the Cardinals next biggest obstacle is arguably at quarterback. Future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner is now enjoying retirement and Matt Leinart inherits the starting spot. Leinart as been wildly inconsistent during his NFL career and it’s hard to get excited about the former USC Trojan leading the Arizona offense. While the Cardinals could devote a late-round selection to a young signal caller, it’s highly unlikely they invest a top pick given the acquisition of Derek Anderson previously of the Cleveland Browns.
With the quarterback position now somewhat in hand, the next logical area of focus is expected to come along the offensive line. Arizona’s running game has improved dramatically over the last handful of years and enhancing its performance in the trenches will help build on that recent progress. Furthermore, selecting an offensive lineman at pick No. 26 could provide the Cardinals’ front office with more value than taking a skill player at that point in the draft.
Arizona did already manage to build on its group of offensive linemen with the addition of guard Rex Hadnot. Hadnot possesses the ability to play both guard positions as well as center. That versatility should come in handy as neither position is completely locked in stone on the Cardinals’ depth chart. Center Lyle Sendlein is an adequate performer in the middle but is not a dominating force anchoring the Arizona offensive line. Meanwhile, Deuce Lutui has struggled at times in his career and his starting spot has come into question on several occasions.
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