Kyle Terada/USA Today

Cardinals' 90-man roster analysis: Offensive tackles

The Arizona Cardinals have asked D.J. Humphries and Jared Veldheer to flip positions this spring, with Humphries expected to take over at left tackle while Veldheer learns what life is like on the right side.

Tier Key

1: Players who, barring a significant setback or injury, will make the Cardinals' 53-man roster this season

2: Players who must compete for a spot on the Cardinals' 53-man roster this season

3: Players who are likely to be cut by the Cardinals prior to the team finalizing its 53-man roster this season

Offensive tackles

Tier 1: D.J. HumphriesJared VeldheerWill Holden

Analysis: It's difficult to contextualize just how far 2015 first round draft choice D.J. Humphries has come since arriving in Arizona as a rookie. Humphries sat out the entirety of his rookie season, taking a redshirt year as head coach Bruce Arians did not believe Humphries was capable of contributing to the team's offensive line. The Cardinals wanted Humphries to grow up, and though it took awhile, by the end of his rookie season, Arizona felt as though Humphries could give them something heading into 2016. Though Humphries is a left tackle by trade, he started the 2016 season at right tackle as the Cardinals felt no need to displace returning starter Jared Veldheer. Humphries handled his role well in his first full season as a starter, so much so that the Cardinals are convinced he's now the left tackle of the future. Even though Veldheer remains under contract, the franchise has asked the veteran to flip to the right side of the offensive line to accommodate the team's desire to install Humphries into the lineup as the left tackle. Though Veldheer was skeptical of the move at first, all reports out of the Cardinals' OTAs indicate he has embraced the move and that the Cardinals feel their offensive line is stronger as a result of the transition. With Humphries and Veldheer back, they're joined in tier one by fifth round draft choice Will Holden, a Vanderbilt product who has some limitations to his game, but should at the very least be a dependable backup option for the Cardinals early in his career. 

Tier 2: Ulrick JohnJohn Wetzel

Analysis: John Wetzel isn't going to blow anyone away with his skill set along the offensive line, but we thought his emergence was one of the best stories to come out of an otherwise underwhelming season for Arizona last year. Wetzel had bounced around the league from practice squad to practice squad, and finally earned his first real opportunity for the Cardinals last season, making starts along the line at both guard and tackle. While Wetzel wasn't necessarily stellar, he provided quality reps and helped keep the Cardinals' chemistry intact when things started to go south for the team injury-wise. Though Wetzel considers himself a tackle, he proved he has the versatility to play guard which should help his case for a roster spot because once again, he'll be in the margins at the end of training camp. Ulrick John was a midseason addition for the Cardinals last year, and like Wetzel, was forced into the starting lineup due to injuries. John is probably a bit behind Wetzel from a developmental standpoint, but should the Cardinals have any depth issues or lose a tackle due to injury in fall camp, John could play his way onto the 53-man roster. 

Tier 3: Jonathan McLaughlinGivens Price

Analysis: While we only anticipate the Cardinals to keep four or five offensive tackles this season, Jonathan McLaughlin and Givens Price will still receive opportunities during training camp this fall when Arizona's third-team offense takes the field. If either player shows promise, the Cardinals should have no problem stashing McLaughlin or Price on the practice squad, which is where Price spent the 2016 season. Price has a massive frame and good power at the line of scrimmage, but he's incredibly raw from a technical standpoint which makes it hard for him to be a true contender for a roster spot. McLaughlin, meanwhile, is an undrafted free agent out of Virginia Tech who will attempt to latch on with the Cardinals any way he can this fall. 


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