Cardinals Prospect: Moving Up in the Draft

This prospect might find things a little crowded if the Cardinals draft him, but he's one of the highest rated at his position.

During my recent interview with Hawaii center Samson Satele that will be published at this week, he mentioned that the Cardinals are one of the teams that have shown interest in him. During the NFL Combine, Arizona scheduled a formal interview with the 6-foot-2, 300-pound lineman who was a three-year starter primarily at left guard before switching to center for his senior year.

Projected as one of the top two centers in the country, he'd be an interesting addition to the Cardinals offensive line. But in Arizona he would initially be a better prospect at his old position of guard rather than at center.

Since the completion of the Combine, Arizona has signed former Cowboys center Al Johnson from Dallas to a four-year contract to compete for the starting job with Nick Leckey. So Arizona's need for a top-tier center prospect may not be as important as it was a month ago, especially if they manage to hold onto Lecky, a restricted free agent who did receive a tender offer from the Cardinals.

Satele is the kind of player who could be a rookie starter if need be or should an injury occur anywhere along the interior line. He could also provide some stiff competition for the incumbents with his fiery attitude and blue-collar work ethic. But the question remains as to whether or not the Cardinals really need to use a draft pick as high as Satele will command for offensive line help while they have important needs in other areas.

If Arizona is truly interested in Satele, they're fortunate that they will have an early pick in the second round. Because while he could possibly slip into the second round, it's not likely he'll fall much further than the Cardinals' selection. Some draft prognosticators believe he could even be the first center drafted, putting USC's Ryan Kalil in the position where he could fall out of Round 1 instead. Draft Snapshot: Samson Satele

(Photo: CW Pack Sports)

The Buzz: Considered to be one of the top two centers in this draft even though he was primarily a three-year starter at left guard until his senior year ... strong, aggressive player who has terrific footwork and is highly alert, using his peripheral vision well from the center position ... "What makes Sam special is his attitude. He's not your typical O-lineman standing there to protect. He's not this happy-go-lucky guy. He goes out there and he punishes you. When you have some of the toughest, baddest D-linemen trying to get you, it's nice to have a center like Sam, who's twice as nasty and twice as mean. He's punishing D-linemen all game." -- Hawaii QB Colt Brennan ... "If you play in June Jones' system, you know how to pass-block. "That is not a skill for a lot of (college linemen).  A lot of (prospects) are solid run-blockers, but they don't have an idea how to pass block." -- Jerry Jones, draft analyst ... Very smart, makes good offensive line adjustments before the snap ...  "I would be hard-pressed to find a better center in college football. He's a complete center." -- Hawaii offensive line coach Dennis McKnight who was an NFL offensive lineman for 10 years.

Noteworthy: Started every game for the Warriors beginning his freshman year, setting a record at Hawaii with 53 consecutive starts ... Ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.29 seconds and recorded a vertical jump of 33 1/2 at the NFL Combine, both of which were top scores amongst offensive linemen ... In high school, lettered three times in basketball and in track (shotput, discus) and was his high school's Athlete of the Year for the 2000 - 2001 school year --  All-WAC first team his senior year ... During his 53-game career at Hawaii, he was credited with 177 knockdown blocks. 

For more on Samson Satele, visit his player profile page.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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