Arizona looks to offensive line, WR with 13th pick

Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt

Credit: Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt

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by Bob Baum/AP Sports Writer

The Associated Press

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 26 at 8:50 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals could be thinking big in this year's draft.

That's big as in some mountainous offensive lineman to fill the team's biggest need.

The Cardinals need someone to play right tackle, or at least right guard, and conventional wisdom has them going in that direction with the 13th overall pick on Thursday night.

Yet it's no foregone conclusion, with the team still searching for a reliable No. 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald. That could tempt Arizona to go for Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.

"He's a good young player," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We got the chance to sit down and meet him and talk with him. That's probably one of the most rejuvenating parts of this whole process is to talk to them about their challenges, what they've gone through, how they've progressed in their careers, and we really enjoyed our time with him."

Floyd's stock has risen steadily since the college season ended, with strong showings at the NFL combine and in his pro day workout.

At 6-foot-2, Floyd says he wants to model his play after Fitzgerald. The two, both from the Minneapolis area, are friends and reportedly plan to work out together this offseason. A question Floyd has had to deal with is about off-field issues.

A year ago, he was suspended from the Notre Dame team after a drunken-driving arrest on campus but was reinstated after he met the conditions set by the university and by coach Brian Kelly for his return. Floyd says he has learned from the situation and has taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.

As always, much depends on what happens before the Cardinals get their pick.

Reilly Reif, a 6-foot-6, 313-pound tackle from Iowa, could still be on the board, although there is a considerable school of thought that he will be taken by the Buffalo Bills at No. 10. Guard-tackle Cordy Glenn of Georgia, 6-5 and 345 pounds, also is a possible choice, with Buffalo again a possibility. If the team decides to go with a guard, though, Stanford's David DeCastro, 6-5, 316, has drawn raves. For that reason, he could be gone by No. 13, too.

Any other offensive lineman might be a reach at No. 13. The Cardinals have studiously avoided such moves in Whisenhunt's years with the team.

"What we don't want to do is draft a lineman just to draft a lineman because that's what you think you have to do," Whisenhunt said. "You've got to trust your process and you've got to pick the best player available that fits your team."

Complicating matters is the absence of a second-round pick. That was sent to Philadelphia as part of the trade for quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Arizona would consider a trade to move down in the draft, and perhaps get a second-round selection, but it seems a good share of the teams ahead of the Cardinals are willing to do so as well.

`We would certainly like to be able to have multiple picks beyond the ordinary seven rounds, and this year we're minus a second," general manager Rod Graves said, "but we'll see what happens. We may end up getting back into a second, but if not then we'll work with what we have and try to optimize it the best we can."

The Cardinals addressed some of the line issues in free agency, re-signing left tackle Levi Brown and signing free agent and former San Francisco 49er Adam Snyder. Snyder can play both guard and tackle but the Cardinals probably would rather slide him in at guard.

"Obviously, getting Levi and Adam was big for us," Whisenhunt said. "We made no bones about the fact that we wanted to address our line. To think that you were going to be able to get three or four guys in free agency, that's just not going to happen. However it came out, we felt like we made two strong additions in getting Levi back and getting Adam."

Unless there's some kind of trade, Arizona's second pick won't come until the third round, the 80th selection overall.

But the Cardinals have been known to find success in the later rounds.

Last year's draft, considered to be a highly successful one for the team, had cornerback-punt returner Patrick Peterson as the no-brainer top of the list at No. 5 overall. But the Cardinals love their second-round pick, running back Ryan Williams, despite losing him to injury for the entire season. Fourth-round pick Sam Acho became the team's starting outside linebacker and led the team in sacks with seven. The third-round pick, tight end Rob Housler, and sixth-round pick, nose tackle David Carter, became significant contributors.

"The teams that have been the most successful have had a history of strong drafts," Graves said, "back to back drafts, and a record of having historical success in drafting. That's certainly what we're working for."

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