Posted April 25, 2013

Jonathan Cooper Selected No. 7 by Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals, NFL Draft
(Jason DeCrow/AP)

(Jason DeCrow/AP)

Follow every pick of the 2013 NFL draft

The Arizona Cardinals had to get better along the offensive line. That was one of the most obvious truths heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.

Ideally, one of the top three tackles would have fallen to them. When that didn’t happen, the Cardinals were left with a few choices: try to trade down, possibly reach at another position (including tackle, with a guy like D.J. Fluker) or address the interior of their line.

They chose that final option, nabbing North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper. There was heavy debate in the past few months surrounding whether Cooper or Alabama’s Chance Warmack would be the first guard off the board. Cooper tended to appeal to teams hoping to be a little more wide open with their offense — he’s quicker and lighter than the hulking Warmack.

The other spot Arizona really could have hit hard here was outside linebacker, with several of the draft’s better DE/OLB types left. This pick went against the NFL’s norms — guards rarely get taken in the top 10 — but it’s hard to argue with it.

Grade: B-plus. As with the Eric Fisher-Luke Joeckel debate, my personal preference was for the player drafted later (Warmack, no doubt, will be selected somewhere in Round 1, too). But Cooper is an outstanding lineman, even if this is far from a sexy pick.

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