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2015 NFL DRAFT

Finding the Fits: Massie, not Floyd, might provide most immediate help for Cards

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
Over the next several weeks, NFLDraftScout.com will be reviewing some of the more intriguing picks made during the 2012 NFL Draft through a series called "Finding the Fits." The goal of the series is to identify one relatively unheralded player per team who appears to be a good schematic fit and therefore more likely to be a surprise contributor early in his pro career.

Finishing 7-2 in their final nine regular-season games a year ago, the Arizona Cardinals will enter the 2012 NFL season eager to prove their hot finish means that the balance of power in the NFC West division could be shifting back to the desert.

A year after making the aggressive trade to land quarterback Kevin Kolb, general manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt appear to have created a roster in which Kolb (or John Skelton) can be successful. The team re-signed left tackle Levi Brown, added a versatile tough-guy in San Francisco free agent Adam Snyder to further solidify its offensive line and focused on this area in the draft, as well, dedicating three of their five Day 3 selections on blockers.

Arizona's first round pick, wideout Michael Floyd, will, of course, generate most of the buzz. While I do not have the same lofty grade on Floyd than some have, there is no denying that that the 6-3, 220-pound former Notre Dame star has the bulk, strength, soft hands and body control to give the Cardinals the best complimentary option to All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald since the team traded Anquan Boldin to the Baltimore Ravens. Better yet, by re-signing veteran playmaker Early Doucet, the Cardinals aren't relying on Floyd to make an impact as a rookie. He's talented enough to do so and the Cardinals certainly hope he will, but historically speaking, few rookie receivers play up to expectations in their first year in the NFL.

The most immediate impact player of the Cardinals' impressive 2012 draft, in fact, could be fourth-round offensive tackle Bobby Massie from the University of Mississippi.

A highly decorated prep prospect, the 6-6, 316-pound Massie started each of his three seasons at Mississippi. Every one of his starts came at right tackle, where the Cardinals currently have a gaping hole. Arizona had featured Brandon Keith at this spot in the past. Keith is talented but struggled with durability and is currently a street free agent. Veteran Jeremy Bridges and journeyman D'Anthony Batiste are other potential options at the position but sources close to the team suggest that the team will give Massie every opportunity to win the starting job.

Massie certainly has the talent, experience against top competition and durability to handle the assignment. He's surprisingly quick off the snap for a man of his size and demonstrates the combination of power and nastiness that every offensive line coach is looking for at the position. While the Cardinals have often featured the passing game during Whisenhunt's tenure, the team would like to be able to pound the football in the running game with Beanie Wells. This certainly ties in with the physicality and toughness in which assistant coach and offensive line coach Russ Grimm played with and asks from his players.

Based purely on talent, Massie could prove a steal for the Cardinals. The former Rebel ranked No. 34 on my Big Board and boasts as much physical talent as any of the offensive linemen drafted in the two rounds before his name was called at No. 112 overall. League sources tell me the reason why Massie fell to this point in the draft had nothing to do with his play on the field. Massie showed little in terms of technical improvement over his career with the Rebels, raising plenty of questions about his work ethic and dependability.

Characterized as a potential candidate to slip into the late first round in the weeks preceding the draft, Massie will likely enter his rookie season with a huge chip on his shoulder. Should Grimm be able to capitalize on Massie's disappointment with slipping into the draft's third day, the Cardinals could have a right tackle to build around.

The rest of the Cardinals' picks:

1st Round - No. 13 overall - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
3rd Round - No. 80 overall - Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
4th Round - No. 112 overall - Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
5th Round - No. 151 overall - Senio Kelemete, OG, Washington
6th Round - No. 177 overall - Justin Bethel, FS, Presbyterian
6th Round - No. 185 overall - Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State
7th Round - No. 221 overall - Nate Potter, OL, Boise State

Read more about all of the Cardinals' picks here.


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