As one tackle after another was taken ahead of them, it seemed the Arizona Cardinals’ bid to land much-needed help on the offensive line was dwindling.
Turns out, they were just as happy taking a guard as a tackle, particularly one with the skill set of North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper.
Arizona bolstered its offensive line by taking Cooper with the No. 7 overall pick of the NFL draft Thursday night, adding an athletic guard who can pass protect and pull out ahead of running backs in the ground game.
“We truly believe this guy could be a 10-12 year pro and a Pro Bowl-caliber talent,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. “He has a unique skill set, maybe one of the more athletic offensive linemen I’ve seen in 15 years I’ve been in the business, has tremendous feet, athleticism, space skills, the ability to pull and play on the perimeter.”
The Cardinals went into their first draft under Keim and new head coach Bruce Arians with plenty of needs, particularly on offense.