It’s no secret that the Arizona Cardinals biggest position of need is at offensive tackle, as they simply cannot afford to start Bradley Sowell at left tackle for yet another stretch of games. Sowell isn’t a terrible backup in this league, but he’s undoubtedly an awful starter and doesn’t do veteran quarterback Carson Palmer any favors (to put it kindly). The Cardinals need to prioritize tackle this year, and it’s probably best to go after a talented starter in free agency before pulling an impact player in the draft. Cyrus Kouandjio is usually the one mocked to the Cards (Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, and Zack Martin most likely won’t be available then, with the “duhs” being given to the top three stars at tackle), but his poor Combine performance will likely cause him to tumble out of the first round. Plus, the Cardinals need an established, top-end starter, as drafting a guy in the first is still a bit risky for a team that needs a stable LT.
Most of the smoke regarding the offensive tackles that the Cardinals are interested in has been directed toward Kansas City Chiefs starting LT Branden Albert, who will almost certainly hit the free agent market. The Cardinals-Albert rumors have been so strong that it would probably be an upset if Steve Keim didn’t ink him to a deal in March. Those rumors have only become hotter, as draft insider Tony Pauline reports that they will “make a big run” at Albert in free agency, which Pauline adds has always been the expectation. If they can’t sign him, then Pauline reports that the Cardinals will direct their attention to an OT in the first.
They need an offensive tackle more than anyone, and Cardinals fans should hope that they can come away with a solid starting left tackle by the time we start talking about this team in June. Albert isn’t as good as some people think (he’s not elite), but he’s a very good starting LT in this league and excels in pass pro. He’s the kind of guy the Cardinals need and would be a massive upgrade for them.