The first team from the NFC West is up in our look at the draft needs of teams across the league. The Arizona Cardinals hold the seventh pick in the first round and have plenty of holes to fill after losing 11 of their final 12 games last season to post a 5-11 record.
Tackle: The Arizona Cardinals offensive line was nothing short of a disaster last season. Nowhere was this more evident than at the tackle position. When Levi Brown was lost for the season due to a torn triceps before the season even began, the Cardinals were put into a bind at the position and were forced to rely on young, unproven players. The Cardinals still have hope that Nate Potter and Bobby Massie will be solid contributors in the future and the return of Brown to the lineup should help as well but they weren’t a strong unit last year as they allowed a league-high 58 sacks. If Luke Joeckel or Eric Fisher happen to be available, the Cardinals could easily jump at the opportunity.
Tight End: The acquisition of Carson Palmer gives some stability to the quarterback position after a revolving door of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer last season. However, a quarterback alone won’t fix everything and Palmer could still use some weapons offensively to work with. Rob Housler and Jeff King are serviceable options but they aren’t threats either. A pass-catching threat from the position could be a good addition to the Cardinals offense. If Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz are available in the second round, the Cardinals could choose to pull the trigger.
Defensive Line: Arizona has a strong defensive front when Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett and Dan Williams are all healthy and playing to their ability. Behind them, the Cardinals could use some help. The Cardinals could take a shot at BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah with their first pick. He’s still fairly raw but has a load of talent and could be afforded the time to develop and play on a rotational basis behind the Cardinals starters as both Campbell and Dockett are aging.
Wide Receiver: Along the same lines as the tight end position. Yes, Larry Fitzgerald is still among the best in the league and Andre Roberts has shown he can be effective option as well. Beyond that, however, is still a pretty sizable question mark. Last year’s first round pick, Michael Floyd, had a fairly quiet rookie campaign and LaRon Byrd and Kerry Taylor have limited experience. It’s a position the Cardinals could look to upgrade likely in the middle rounds.
Cornerback: Patrick Peterson has become one of the better cornerbacks in the league but Arizona could use some help behind him. The Cardinals signed Antoine Cason this offseason and has a trio of young corners in Jamell Fleming, Bryan McCann and Jerraud Powers but they could still look to add some insurance to the position.
Running Back: The Cardinals invested a second round pick in Ryan Williams in 2011. They also signed Rashard Mendenhall in free agency. However, both have suffered ACL injuries and struggled to stay healthy. Williams has only played in five games in two seasons and Mendenhall proved inconsistent and was suspended by the Steelers for a violation of team rules. The Cardinals have options at the position but could still look for additional depth.