|National Football League|
Arizona finally addresses line with Saturday picks
By BOB BAUM
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals waited until the third day of the NFL draft to address the team's greatest need, then made up for it by picking three offensive linemen - tackle Bobby Massie of Mississippi in the fourth round, guard Senio Kelemete of Washington in the fifth and tackle Nate Potter in the seventh.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Massie slipped farther in the draft than a lot of people had predicted, going to the Cardinals on Saturday as the 112th player chosen overall.
"It just makes me hungry," Massie said in a conference call. "I was projected to go higher and earlier in the draft. It just makes me hungry. I'm just ready to strap on the pads and show teams why I should have been drafted earlier."
That's an attitude that coach Ken Whisenhunt appreciates.
"I'm excited that we got Bobby Massie in here with a little chip on his shoulder," Whisenhunt said. "You know, there were projections of him going late first or second round and to get him where we got him, I think he'll bring a little bit of an attitude with him."
The Cardinals selected wide receiver Michael Floyd of Notre Dame in the first round and cornerback Jamell Fleming of Oklahoma in the third round. Arizona's second-round pick had been shipped to Philadelphia as part of the trade that brought quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona.
"One of the areas that a lot of people have said we needed to address was offensive line," Whisenhunt said. "There were obviously some rumblings yesterday when we didn't take one with the third-round pick. But we feel very good about trusting our board and getting a player we think can come in here and play with our fourth-round pick and our fifth-round pick."
Arizona had two picks in the sixth round, selecting defensive back Justin Bethel of Presbyterian with the first and quarterback Ryan Lindley of San Diego State with the second.
Bethel was perhaps the most intriguing. A YouTube video shows him leaping vertically 60 inches, that's five feet, to the top of a stack of boxes.
"I didn't even know someone was recording it until later on," he said, "about a month or so later. Then my dad told me he put it on YouTube and everything. None of this was planned out, how it went viral and all that stuff. I never would have thought in a million years that stuff would happen."
Bethel believes his special teams ability, particularly as a kick blocker, helped him, as did his overall performance against California, when he returned an interception for a touchdown.
The selection of Lindley was something of a surprise, since the team already has four under contract in Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Rich Bartel. Lindley has a strong arm but struggled with accuracy, something he has tried to address by working hard on his footwork in the offseason.
Whisenhunt traced the decision to draft the quarterback to their preparation for drafting San Diego State wide receiver DeMarco Sampson a year ago.
Kelemete, 6-3 and 300 pounds, started all 13 games at left tackle for Washington last season but is projected as a guard with the Cardinals. He was a two-time team captain with the Huskies.
"I think my strengths are my attitude, being really aggressive," he said, "and bringing the best out of the guys around me."
Massie played right tackle in college, the same position he will be competing for with Arizona. The Cardinals, plagued by inconsistent line play, re-signed left tackle Levi Brown in the offseason and signed free agent Adam Snyder, who can play either guard or tackle.
"I have the opportunity to prove myself," Massie said. "I want to get in, learn the system, and get around the guys, my teammates. My goal is to potentially be the starter by the time the season starts."
Massie, from Lynchburg, Va., had a year of college eligibility remaining but chose to leave Ole Miss after the team went 2-10 last season, leading to the firing of coach Houston Nutt. Massie started all 12 games last season on an offense that struggled mightily, finishing 114th nationally at 281.25 yards per game.
Overall, he appeared in 37 games at Mississippi, starting the last 29 of them. He blocked for 14 100-yard rushing performances but said he considers pass blocking his biggest strength.
He said he didn't know why he had slipped in the draft.
"A lot of teams that talked to me and told me they were going to draft me ended up passing," Massie said. "That's just how the draft goes. I'm just proud to be in Arizona."
He said he didn't know much about the Cardinals.
"I know they throw the ball a lot," Massie said, "so I'll keep the quarterback upright."
Potter, a bit undersized at 6-5, 295, started at left tackle the last two seasons for the Broncos.
Updated April 28, 2012