If Cardinals want a lineman, they might have to choose a guard

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Bruce Arians isn’t holding his cards too close to the vest.

He’s being honest in assessing his roster, repeating what everyone already knows – the Arizona Cardinals need to upgrade the offensive line.

“I think we're maybe one player from one hell of an offensive line, with good quality depth, with position flexibility,” Arians said, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “I think as the defensive pass rushers have gotten so much more athletic, the priority to have somebody to block them has finally got where it belongs. Some teams still don’t value, (thinking) ‘Hey, we can get offensive linemen.’ Good luck.”

The Cardinals are going to need good luck if they are going to land one of the top three offensive tackles in the draft with the seventh overall pick. Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson could be off the board before Arizona is on the clock.

That means Arizona could then be staring at the prospect of selecting a guard – Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack – or moving on to another position. If the Cardinals are driven to help out the line, they need to make a decision on whether or not that is too high to select a guard. One other possibility would be to draft D.J. Fluker, but most view him as a right tackle.

The Cardinals could also consider trading up a few slots to ensure they get one of the tackles. As Somers notes, the last time Arizona moved up in the first round was 1993 when they moved up from No. 4 to No. 3 to draft running back Garrison Hearst.

Whatever they do, the Cardinals have to prioritize the line. They have not selected a lineman higher than the fourth round since 2007 and that is the primary reason why their blocking has been such a mess the past few seasons.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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