The Cardinals drafted seven players in the 2014 NFL draft. Not one of them was an offensive lineman. Most people believed that meant that the Cardinals front office and coaching staff felt confident in the crew they were bringing to camp. Now after OTA’s and the team’s mini camp, things don’t look so settled.
Coming in to the offseason the majority of those in the know around the Cardinals figured it would be a two-way battle between Bobby Massie and Bradley Sowell. It started that way, but before long Nate Potter was added to the mix as well. Now comes word that the team met with and worked out veteran right tackle Tyson Clabo.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Clabo, he is a very solid and durable pro right tackle that played the majority of his career with the Atlanta Falcons. It’s possible that Steve Keim just wanted to take a look at some veteran free agent lineman for depth, but the most likely scenario is that Bruce Arians isn’t pleased with what he’s seen so far and wants a veteran to come in much like Eric Winston did last season.
Clabo left without signing a contract so it’s a good bet that he’s looking for a better situation than a short term placeholder for the Cardinals, but the situation bears watching. Coach Arians spoke to the media and complimented Potter’s intelligence but questioned his ability to hold up under pressure. He called Sowell inconsistent and the story on Massie continues to be his inability to eliminate the mental errors that have plagued him since his rookie season.
So where does this leave the Cardinals when it comes to their starting right tackle spot?
There is still a long way until the start of training camp and the coaching staff could see the improvement they’re looking for out of Massie. At this point I think it’s pretty obvious that Massie is the only guy who has a really good shot of winning the job. Potter just doesn’t have the physical makeup to hold up at right tackle and Sowell doesn’t seem to be nailing the heavy run responsibilities that the right tackle job requires after doing a solid job protecting Carson Palmer against the pass on the left side last season.
If Massie can’t shore up the mental part of the game with the increased reps over the summer then the Cardinals will almost surely revisit the veteran angle. Has anybody heard from Eric Winston lately? If Clabo doesn’t sign elsewhere he could also be looked at again with possibly some better contract terms. There is also the possibility of some young tackle beating out a reliable veteran on another team, making that veteran a cap casualty.
If there’s one thing for sure in all of this, it’s that we know Steve Keim will continue to bring in players for workouts and watch the waiver wire. Keim brought in more players off the street for workouts last season than any GM in football. He is always looking for ways to improve this team. Right tackle is no exception.