Flexibility in constructing the offensive line

Posted by Darren Urban on April 10, 2013 – 1:20 pm

The Cardinals finally added an offensive lineman in free agency Wednesday, signing veteran guard Chilo Rachal. What does that mean for the line going forward? Something. And nothing.

Adding parts that can help in some way, shape or form — starter or depth — has been one of the mantras for General Manager Steve Keim. Rachal could end up as either. So obviously, his arrival carries that significance. But it isn’t going to impact the draft. If the Cardinals decide, for instance, Chance Warmack is their guy at No. 7, they’ll take him and figure it out from there. If they want to take a tackle like Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson and move Bobby Massie to guard, they will do that too. If their top pick is a pass rusher, maybe we see a line of LT Brown, LG Colledge, C Sendlein, RT Massie and a battle between Snyder and Rachal. Or there could be an offensive lineman chosen in the second round or third round — or maybe even later — who could be part of the mix.

At this point, there are dozens of ways this can go, and the Cardinals have set it up just so they have that flexibility. I could see them letting a veteran go in a June 1 move if they felt they had enough other pieces for their puzzle. Certainly Keim has shown he isn’t afraid to make such moves. I’m not certain there couldn’t be a veteran offensive lineman added later in the offseason either.

(The Cardinals, prior to the Rachal signing I would guess, had $9.496 million in salary cap space as of Wednesday according to the NFLPA.)

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to the Cardinals and the draft. The braintrust has reiterated a few times how deep in offensive line talent this class is, beyond just the top 10. Will it shock me to see them pick a player that isn’t an offensive lineman? Absolutely not. Stop me if you’ve heard this before — Keim believes in a difference-maker at the top. That doesn’t mean a difference-maker can’t be an offensive lineman if his grades are the right ones, but I truly believe the idea of reaching there for need over a guy graded much better makes Keim’s stomach turn.


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45 Responses to “Flexibility in constructing the offensive line”

  1. By eric on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    i still think warmack or fisher will be the pick.

  2. By D on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    There is a strong possiblity of KC, Philly and Detroit all taking OT in the top 5. Everyone has CLE taking the top Corner at 6, throw in a DT and Geno Smith for Oak and Jax, then the Cards are left with a DE/OLB, DT or a G. I don’t see them taking a G at 7 (doubt if they can trade down) and they are strong at DT….so that difference maker could be a pass rusher….

    Don’t worry Card fans, there will be still a good Right Tackle and G available in round 2.

  3. By Dynosoar on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    At #7 we do need a difference maker. So who is that? JTDG, who is the biggest difference maker at #7?

    As to the offensive line, I like this move. Put Rachel next to his old team-mate, they worked well together in San Fran. We may ask why did they get cut if they were good? but if we can remember, we just cut several pllayers all of us thought were “so good” and a few we didn’t.

    I like this move. I believed this year would be the year of the Cards and the beginning of a dynasty, just thought there’d be a different Head Coach.

    Looks like Bruce Arians has been planning on who he’d have on his dream team for some time and now that he’s got the chance, he’s going to work to win now and not after a few years when his dream team has been dismantled due to success. He wants to win with his dream team/staff now and he’s hungry. Looks like Keim is just as hungry. Should be a good draft to watch and an even more thrilling winning season.

    More and more excited.

    Cards playing in NY next Feb!

  4. By aaron on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    If by chance Dion Jordan falls to 7, that has to be the pick. I also like the idea of Ansah there. Come second round, it would be hard to pass on a guy like Reid or Elam when you’re looking for your future safety. Line might not even be addressed until round 3 and I would have no problem with that.

  5. By Bill L on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Sounds More and More that the real Impact will be on Carson Palmer…….Imobile Older QB……..worst O-Line in the L……..Pass Rusher in the draft……….Throw DOWNFIELD……….odds are looking good that Palmer finishes the season on the DL…………Levi at LT, Massie at RT…….yessir, pretty Good.

  6. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply


    If I had the answers, I would be sitting next to Keim. Or maybe he would be sitting next to me. But I do have my opinions.

    As I have said before, guards are not difference makers. The deepest position in every draft is guard because you have centers, tackles, and guards who could play the spot.

    A LT is a difference maker, especially on a team that will throw the ball a lot. So Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson could fit.

    A name no one is mentioning, (and me and Jason had a nice conversation about a few blogs ago) is Kenny Vaccaro. Mark Barron went to Tampa last year at #7 and Vaccaro is better than Barron. The safety class is deep, so it depends how they rate a player and then account for the depth of that position. But Vaccaro would not be a surprise.

    Star Lotulelei is another difference maker. He could be in the rotation then take over from Dockett next year. He is in the mode of a Haloti Ngata.

    Ansah and Jordon scare me. The look amazing. Jordon’s numbers are off the chart with 6’6″ and 250, ran the 40 in 4.54 can cover and blitz the edge. So why only 5 sacks?? Why wasn’t he more productive in college. The same can be said for the bigger Ansah. Both players are Boom or Bust guys. This is where Keim must trust his eyes when it comes to the film and not the measurables.

    Jarvis Jones is interesting. Besides his medical condition, he put up a 4.95 40. What?? Lane Johnson and Eric Fisher are faster. But there was no one who played defense better than Jones last year. He exploded off the edge, led the nation in sacks and just made loads of plays. But 4.95 might force him to be an inside LB.

    Finally, Milliner and Rhodes are both big physical CBs who are in the mode of a Richard Sherman of Seattle. It would be very hard to pass on Milliner at 7.

    One other guy who was everyone’s top 5 pick until the combine is Damontre Moore. His story is the same as Jarvis Jones. He posted a 4.95 and fell to the second round.It is tough to justify an edge rusher running that slow. But in both cases, they have a great first step. If you beat the lineman with your first step, you can be productive.

  7. By Mike on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Vacarro is not better than Mark Barron. That is a complete falsehood. Also, ask the 49ers, who currently have arguably the best line in the league AND the best guards, if they think guards arent difference makers. There is a reason our running game has been awful the past few years while the 49ers has been dominant, and it aint just the tackles

  8. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    One more thing,

    Most likely at our 38th pick Left Tackles Terron Armstead and Menelik Watson will be there.

    If you went Vaccaro, Jordon Jarvis Jones, Dee Milliner, or Star, you could get a very good, but raw LT. They could start inside this year and move out next year. Kyle Long is another interesting guy. Wouldnt mind seeing the Long brothers going at it twice a year.

  9. By carlo milano on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Which pass rusher prospects do you like?

  10. By Darren Urban on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Carlo —

    RE: Pass rushers

    Again, I’m not studying these guys. I’ve heard good things on Jordan, but like many, I wonder if he is so good why he didn’t produce bigger numbers.

  11. By D on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Ziggy vs Dion. Both are great athletes. Dion had surgery in Feb, won’t be able to do much until July. Would a team that picks in the top 7 take a player that is recovering from an injury? Ziggy has less playing experience but he could be that OLB pass rusher on third downs at the start of the season while he learns how to play in the NFL

  12. By Dynosoar on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Bill L,

    impact will be on C. Palmer. That was funny. I’m believing a healthy O-Line with as Arians says a piece or two will be all we need to keep Palmer upright with a sound pocket… but that was funny.

    John the Draft Guy,

    I should send a note to Keim saying you should be at his side.

  13. By carlo milano on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I dont know much about racal but i read many comments of his previous teams positive.even walter football ranked him as the worst free agent guard.i hope can be some sort of motivation for him to show he can be a good player

  14. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Carlo and Darren,

    The problem with the question is, who is the best pass rusher based on potential or who is the best pass rusher?

    Nobody is as good as Jarvis Jones period. The big question is, with his slow 40, can that translate to the NFL. But going in, he has to be the best.

    Dion Jordon, as pointed out has crazy potential. His production was not that great though. Jason Pierre Paul had the same kind of issues and has turned into a great pass rusher, but you could find a whole lot of potential guys who were bust. Ask the Bills about Aaron Maybin, the Jets about Vernon Gholston or the Jags about Derrick Harvey. All potential star pass rushers who went bust. Ziggy Ansah fits into that catagory.

    Damontre Moore was pretty good at getting the QB. As I mentioned before, most had him going in the top 5-10 players till his very weak combine.

    Two guys I think are interesting. Jamie Collins and Sean Porter.

    When Collins can stand up and just go get the QB, he is explosive. But he played in a defense that was a lot of read and react. I dont know our new defense but under Horton, he would be a star. (a second rounder)

    Sean Porter reminds me of Darryl Washington. Think of Dwash’s explosiveness and playmaking. Porter’s issue, he is the same size as Dwash and may project as a weakside linebacker. Where ever he goes, expect that team to get a playmaker. Think a poor mans Von Miller. ( a 2nd or 3rd rounder)

  15. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply


    One more guy that could be a surprise is Alec Olgetree. He is a converted safety who will be an outstanding inside LB.

    Like Vaccoro at safety, ILBs usually don’t go this high but they have. Olgetree is the best ILB in the draft.

  16. By Credit Card on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I personally do not see a huge drop off of talent between the top 10 picks and the next 22 picks (11 thru 32), which is radically different from previous drafts. If the Cards can trade down — they should. Cards need more players from the draft than some of the other teams. A mid to lower 1st round with a lower 2nd or 3rd round choice is better than having their 7th pick.

  17. By Cards Season Ticket Holder on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    We were rated as one of the worst Olines in the NFL because of the number of sacks we gave up last year. I know injuries played a huge part in that, but I don’t think we will be picking as low as # 7 the next few years. So let’s get our solid left tackle with the #7 pick this year, for several years to come to protect our QB’s and help our Runningbacks.
    I like Lane Johnson with that #7 pick. Very athletic with big upside to get better.
    Go Redbirds

  18. By Patrick Eagan on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I want Luke Jockel

  19. By Coach Kevin on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    I think I finally got this right.

    Round 1- (#7) Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
    Great feet for a big man. Former tight end and quarterback. Has the biggest upside potential of any left tackle in this draft. Very athletic and smart.

    Round 2- (#38) Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse

    Great size with good movement skills. Excellent run blocker and good pass pro as well. Pugh’s advantage is his quickness to the second level. A one blocking dream. High motor.

    Round 3- (#69) Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss.

    Amazing athlete with good size and speed. Perfect outside backer in a 3-4 defense. Excellent pass rushing skills and can defeat offensive blockers and get to the ball. Works hard every play.

    Round 4- (#103) Nico Johnson, ILB, Alabama

    Very physical run defender who can take on blockers in the hole and make the tackle. Very thick athletic body that moves well. This is a punch you in the mouth inside backer.

    Round 5- (#140) Josh Evans, FS, Florida

    Outstanding size and speed. Can play either strong or free safety. Also some corner if needed. Plays aggressive and is a hard hitter. Could challenge for a starting position as a rookie.

    Round 6- (#174) Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt

    Stacy is practically a clone of Ravens running back Ray Rice. Same size and hard running style. Back to back 1000+ yard rushing seasons in the very tough SEC. This is my STEAL of the draft!

    Round 7- (#219) Keelan Johnson, SS, Arizona St.

    Local kid with potential. Very instinctive player who can cover and run support. Good size and excellent speed. Keelan could develop into a quality strong safety.

    BONUS: SEAN RENFREE, QB, Duke. This local kid will be the free agent steal of the century.

  20. By canadian redbird on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    You read it here first. Geno Smith will be available at # 7, with Buffalo licking their chops, thinking the Cards will go OL. Thats when the Jets enter the picture and offer their #9 pick and a 3 rd rounder for our #7. Cards will pick Warmack or Johnson with the #9 pick and select a QB with their extra pick in the 3rd.

  21. By ored on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    might figure Hunt somewhere late 1st-early 2nd also,in some ways a clone of c.campbell,already has a reputation for blocking kicks.good size and speed.

  22. By philly cards on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    Financially its not wise to go o line in the first round. Why spend all this time gettting cap relive to take hits again.
    They will have to play this yr with those guys.

    They will need a ss. And we are desperate enough to take one with 7. This is the nfc. You have to be physical and talented. Why leave patric peterson on an island? The top 5 defense is the smart money is on the secondary

  23. By tbru on Apr 10, 2013 | Reply

    “The Cardinals, prior to the Rachal signing I would guess, had $9.496 million in salary cap space as of Wednesday according to the NFLPA”

    Do all 90 guys they carry in camp have to fit in the cap, or is the cap based on the final roster?

  24. By Darren Urban on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    TBru —

    RE: Cap

    Until the first Monday of the regular season (prior to the opener), teams only have to count their top 51 cap numbers (plus dead money) against the salary cap. Once you reach the first Monday, every contract — including IR and practice squad — must be included in the cap equation.

  25. By Jason on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply


    I agree with you that production wise Jarvis Jones and Damonte Moore have the resume that teams crave. However, there is a reason that the combine numbers factor into the equation. In the NFL the talent level is a huge jump from college and if you don’t have the athletism, explosiveness and strength that the combine displays (or exposes in this case) then it is a missing piece to the whole impact player. Was their production due to the level of competition (and to answer the question I’m sure will come: No. The SEC is NO WHERE NEAR the NFL level of competition)? Have they met their celing of production/athletic ability? I’m not saying that Jones and Moore won’t be stars in the NFL and I think later in the first they would be considered steals but as a GM it is something tangible that you have to factor in. Moore only did 12 bench presses at the combine…this is either indicative of his strength or his work ethic. If you’re going to the biggest job interview of your life why wouldn’t you train for it?

  26. By Rugbymuffin on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Warmack @ #7.

    Easiest choice in the draft.

    If the Cardinals neglect the offensive line with the 1st pick, in a draft where the offensive linemen prospects are top of the line, then that is a bad sign for the new regime.

    The Cardinals shot themselves in the foot for not investing in the offensive line, and to continue to repeat that mistake would prove that, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” still applies to the Cardinals.

    BTW – Warmack @ #7 would be a difference maker. One player that can instantly improve your QB play, you WR play, and your RB play.

    If we draft one of those very, very high risk pass rushers, or some flippin’ WR or RB then this organization deserves to lose 10 games for the next 3 seasons.

    I have faith the Cardinals will do the right thing and invest in the offensive line with the #7 pick.

    PLENTY of pass rushers available at the #2 spot.

  27. By Brian on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Guards aren’t difference makers? C’mon. Try telling that to Steve Hutchinson, Logan Mankins, or Mike Iupati. Just because the guard position is under-appreciated, doesn’t mean those guys can’t be difference makers.

    Here’s the deal with guards. The reason teams hesitate picking them early is because it’s relatively easy to find serviceable guards later in the draft. It’s not so easy to just pick up a decent left tackle in the later rounds, so everyone’s trying to get their hands on one of the elite guys.

    Just because there are more average-caliber guards out there, does NOT mean the elite guys aren’t difference-makers. It just means you’re not as screwed if you pass on them. But trust me, Steve Hutchinson definitely made a difference in Seattle when they drafted him in the first round…

  28. By outcent on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Im not to worried about the 40 times of a pass rusher. There have been numerous guys in the past that have had poor times and still had sucess. Most notably Terrell Suggs. pass rushers tend to work in a 10 – 20 yard space and guys like Jarvis Jones have shown they can do that.

  29. By Jason on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Terrell Suggs was much heavier than Jones and while his 49 was slow he still ran faster than Jones so it’s not really similar. My point is @7 you want a guy whose combine confirms his film…you don’t want to draft someone who was a workout warrior with bad film the same as you don’t want to take a guy with good film who disappoints in the measurables. At least not in the top 10.

  30. By DontTakeLosses on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Go Cards:

    1. love the moves by Keim in building flexibility, this time on OL;
    2. love the build up to the draft, and the jigsaw puzzle taking shape;
    3. don’t forget, like Warner, C. Palmer gets the ball out fast, that makes our OL better before they ever take the field;

    With The Masters this week and the stock market firing on all cylinders, not posting much here, but really enjoy reading the posts, thx for all the homework you guys do … checking in daily. Will be taking our twins (16 months now) to every game, may sell the C-boys preseason tix (we got 4) to pay for a few games, don’t be mad! lol.


  31. By D on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    The team to watch this draft as to an impact to the Cards getting a OT is Philly. KC will take either Jockel or Fisher if they can’t move out of the spot. Chances are no team will want to spend that much in pick capital to move into the 1 spot. Detroit at 5 has done nothing in free agency except losing a OT to retirement. So, it sure does look like they will take a OT. At 4 is Philly. They could go a number of different ways…maybe Geno S if he is still on the board, or one of the good DT who will be available, maybe a pass rusher like D.Jordan (who Kelly know’s well) or a OT since their tackle is coming back from an injury.
    If L. Johnson falls to #7, no doubt AZ would take him. If all 3 OT are gone, then AZ will look to move down, highly doubtful finding a partner, then they would have to choose between a pass rusher vs a G. Most likely Ziggy vs Warmack. I think AZ could find a player in round 2 that could start next year, like Long from OR. He can play OT or G. The OT from FSU should be available in round 2–would be a good Right Tackle. The OL depth is greater than the Pass rusher depth in this draft. Interesting to see who Keim has on his board for value/grade rating.

  32. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Coach Kevin,

    If the draft fell that way, it would be a great draft.

    Canadian Redbird,

    That trade is not that far fetched. I think Cleveland or Detroit might make that trade first though.


    I thought Jarvis Jones was an easy pick till his 40 time. A 4.7 time would be a concern but a 4.95? Then he didnt even run at his pro day. I think he will be one of the most interesting story lines of the draft. Keim better have every scout on that one.

    Brian and Mike,

    For 20 years+, the entire NFL scouting and GM depts have decided not to take guards in the top 15 picks. I didn’t make that up. Just look at the draft history. Also, I have mentioned this before, Who would you draft if you only had 1 pick?

    Mike Iupati, Steve Hutchinson, and Logan Mankins , Demarcus Ware, Haloti Ngata, Von Miller, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Willis, Joe Thomas, and RG3.

    Guards work in tandom with the oline. You never have a game where a guard takes over the game the way Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor or Calvin Johnson, Peyton Manning ect do. They just dont.

    Sure they are important. Every player on the field is important. If you don’t have good guards, it is tough on the offense. But sorry guys, they are not impact players. And 32 GMs for the last 20 years have agreed with me.

    Vacarro is not better than Barron. That is a complete falsehood.
    No, it is an opinion. Lets talk in 3 years to see if it is a falsehood.

  33. By Jason on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply


    What’s crazy is that his 40 time was Burfict slow, but I don’t think it’s going to hurt him like it did Vontaze. I think he still goes in the 1st round even with the 40 and spinal stenosis.

  34. By georgiebird on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    Unless Arians has his eye on a QB, the Cards should definitely go DL with the #1 pick.. Neither DD, CC or Dan are elite 3-4 players. Star Lotulelei or Ansah would upgrade this group.
    DD might get traded to improve the Cards draft day options.

  35. By Eazy E on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    If Geno is there at 7, you gotta grab your future face of the franchise at QB, even if you like Carson which I clearly don’t but that’s neither here nor there because he ain’t playing that long for us anyway or forever. If not, Warmack or Fisher has to be the pick seeing that Joeckel probably goes #1. We can’t continue to avoid the O-Line just because Levi was a horrible pick. We gotta try again if Geno ain’t there. I love Warmack and Fisher at LG and LT respectively. Our O-line is almost as bad as our QB position, naw they’re both equally bad and we have to get some below average people out of those crucial positions on our team. Again, McKinnie and A. Smith are still out there for the signing. I kinda like the signing of Rachal but would have liked at least 1 of those two a helluva lot more if not both.

  36. By ored on Apr 11, 2013 | Reply

    moore did try improving his 40 time,but pretty much the same result,understand he has a good 1st step and that helps,but is it enough?might be somebody who is terrific in college but the nfl players on whole are so much better he is just ordinary,also to consider is his bench press,that’s pretty weak.

    lots of players with physical gifts but need the coaching and a dose of maturity,seems to me it would be more fruitful letting our coaching staff and a strong locker room environment work in our favor,just thinking,if we had vontaze now.

    coach k…i guess your list is ok,not a big fan of johnson at 7,would love seeing star there,also a te somewhere,every year we’ve had injuries there,would really love the notre dame te,but it would probably take a 1st round pick for that… is when it would be nice to have a ton of picks and be able to trade for that special player without upsetting the gameplan.if we get this wound up,just think what keim must be feeling.but at least he knows we’re already improved from previous years witha healthy line and a proven qb.i think our running game has a real chance this if our defense stays strong it will be exciting.

    nice to see we’re getting quality leaders also,maybe next time there is a vontaze situation we can take that risk.

  37. By Steve F on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    I for one am not sold on Ziggy that early in the draft. The guy may have amazing potential, but let’s not forget that 2 years ago the guy didn’t know how to wear his pads. He has been playing against crap competition and will take a long time to devlop. The Cardinals are not in a position to bring in long-term projects. They need immediate help and can’t gamble with such a long-shot. I completely agree with those stating the need to draft OL early and often. Please Cardinals, don’t screw this up!!

  38. By truths4all on Apr 12, 2013 | Reply

    Unless Brown spent his time off by losing weight and doing everything under the sun that would help in giving hm quicker feet and quicker reaction times (so soon fans forget his claim to fame as the false start king of the NFL), I look for the Cards to focus on protecting Palmer AND giving him that extra time needed to execute the vertical passing game. That means they need a monster OT like Lane Johnson or other top OTs who have demonstrated quick enough feet, quick enough reaction times, and a mean streak as deep as they come. I hope they do not make the same mistake the Raiders have done for years which was trying to execute a vertical passing attack without an offensive line that could not give the QB and receivers time to get in place to execute a vertical passing attack.

  39. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 13, 2013 | Reply


    “Guards work in tandom with the oline. You never have a game where a guard takes over the game the way Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor or Calvin Johnson, Peyton Manning ect do. They just dont.”

    Everybody works in tandem with someone else, not sure what distinction you’re making there.

    While it’s not common to have a Guard so good to take a game over, it has happened. Go back and watch Alabama and you’ll see a few examples of Warmack doing it (in particular, Notre Dame and Georgia). There were quite a few players rated as potential first rounders he went against, but made them look so bad the tape almost had to be disregarded in order to get a better overall picture. Larry Allen did it with the Cowboys in his prime. You win the line of scrimmage and more often than not, you win the game. Nobody dominated the line more than he did during their run in the 90’s. To your point, it is a position where a weaker player can be hidden without causing major damage, but put a legit superstar there and the results can be dramatic (kind of like a wing in hockey).

    The more you watch him, the clearer it becomes why Warmack is so much higher on Mayock’s board than anyone else, and may be the one piece Arians is referring to.

  40. By Nick on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    Lane Johnson is the only pick that makes sense. Secure your left tackle spot for the future. Sorry Bruce, but our line was pathetic.

  41. By William Barry on Apr 14, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, this guy Milliner, CB, was profiled on ESPN, and he as superior size, strength, reaction time, immesurables, etc. He would be a perfect choice for us at number 7.

    GO CARDS!!!!

  42. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Mike Ellingboe;

    Would our season have been different if we had Larry Allen (in his prime) this year? Of course not. Batiste was a revolving door, Massie struggled early. Our QBs were terrible. Allen doesn’t save this offense.

    But if we had Joe Thomas, would we have been better? If we had RG3? What about AP ? If we had Demarcus Ware on defense? If we had Darrelle Revis?

    All those players would have improved the team and most likely translated into more wins. Larry Allen would have pancaked the DT or LB but it really wouldn’t have mattered with the players around him.

    According to Darren (or a site he referred to) our lineman with the best grade was Colledge. Could you tell? Did he make a difference? On the other hand, could you feel the impact of DWash or PP?

    Guards are like NTs. Very important, as every position is, but impactful? not really.

  43. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply


    Would Ware have saved us if both Dockett and Campbell been out before the season started? Revis if Peterson was out for the year? Thomas? Not once Kolb got hurt, no. Allen in his prime? Let’s put it this way, we would have at least had a run game. Whether or not Whisenhunt would have made the adjustment, who knows? Don’t forget that when Allen played LT he was equally as dominant there. Not overly shocking that Colledge was our highest rated lineman, but that goes to the quality of it. Compare his best ranking to Allen’s and tell me if there’s a number line long enough to count the digits in-between. Barry Switzer called Allen their best player. When you consider his choices it’s pretty high praise. Ever listen to other RB’s talk about Emmitt? You don’t hear them praise him, they basically just say how much they’d love to have run behind the line he did.

    Again, go back and watch Alabama and see what truly separated them from their opponents. Warmack and Co. (Warmack in particular) just destroyed whoever stood in their way. He took Ogletree 10-15 yards down the field with one hand and ruined Teo’s standing a potential top 10 pick. Demontre Moore and Jarvis Jones? Looked like back-ups against them. When you can render the guy across from you as useless, it’s about as impactful as it gets. Again, I’ll be the first to admit very few Guards have that ability, as most would typically be moved to LT, but there’s one available now.

  44. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 15, 2013 | Reply

    Mike Ellingboe,

    I dont think we will agree on this.

    I also dont know how Losing Levi is the equal to losing both Docket and Campbell. If we lost Dockett, Ware still makes a difference. Ware would still make plays if we lost both. I completely disagree with that.

    Also, how would we have a running game? everyone has to block to make a run play work. If warmack took out a LB but the DE slashed in and hit the back, you still dont have a running game. Warmack is not superman.

    A couple things about Warmack.
    1. He is a power guard not a zone blocker. If you run a zone blocking scheme, you are not going with Warmack, you would take Copper. What is Arians running.
    2. Warmack was one part of a dominant Oline. I would argue that DJ Fluker had dominant games better than warmack (see LSU game). The ND/Bama game, NDs dline has no one who is getting drafted this year or next. You cant base him on that game.

    I think most of the issues last year was Batiste and an inexperienced Massie. The second half of the year, the oline was better. The other issue was how bad the QBing was. Kolb was miserable. With Palmer and an improved tackle spot, we will be fine. I think a guard at 7 is foolish.

  45. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 16, 2013 | Reply


    We don’t. Losing Dockett and Campbell would, very negatively, affect any OLB as it would be way too easy for the OL to get to the second level and completely nullify them, especially in a 3-4. Aldon Smith was a complete waste in the Seattle game that Justin Smith was out for. They blocked him with a TE, didn’t even bother using an OL. Anytime you take out two projected starters on either side of the line of scrimmage, the rest will be negatively affected (remembering both Levi and Bridges went out for the year during preseason).

    How would we have a running game with Allen in his prime? Seriously? When you get a guy like him (or Warmack) who takes the DT two-three steps away from the play, running behind that couldn’t be easier. Immediately puts the RB at the second level, and if the FB is utilized the second level quickly becomes the third. However, with our guards (not completely blaming them) getting the first line of defense moved very seldom happened for us last year, hence Keim’s assertion that we need to get more physical inside.

    Warmack? So many disagreements with your assessments it’s hard to begin. Major points (to shorten the post). A power guard only? How could you have missed his mobility? He has the quickest feet I’ve seen on a Guard, amazing agility, Bama consistently pulls him. Fluker more dominant? Watch again, any game (LSU, Georgia, Notre Dame, Texas A & M, whoever, take your pick). Warmack so consistently destroys whoever is in front of him that the opposition grasps at straws. LSU tried Bennie Logan, an actual DT, not an undersized DE, he got moved, consistently. Tried a 265-lb Montgomery, a mismatch. 346-lb John Jenkins had one good play against him, in what was an otherwise completely dominant performance by Warmack. He one-handed Ogletree a good 5-10 yards down the field. When the middle of the field is owned, the rest is just cherry picking. Not saying Fluker and Jones aren’t studs as well, but it’s Warmack who sets the tone in all those games. The ND game, in particular. You want to run a 3-4 alignment going against a guy like that? Just asking to be destroyed. Two DT’s aren’t enough, and they’re going to pull one off the field for another inside backer? Please.

    Bottom line, Warmack dominated his position more than anyone else in college football this past season. If we’re looking for an immediate, impact player at #7 he’s as close as anyone will come to a “sure” thing. If Fisher or Joeckel manage to slide to us, so be it, they’d be great picks as well, but taking a post-season phenom like Lane Johnson over him? Or a risky, one-dimensional pass rusher in today’s day and age of the pistol offense where they’ll be exposed on every play? No, in the strongest possible terms.

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