Cardinals Rookie Named as One of NFL Draft’s Biggest Steals

Lecitus Smith

Getty Images Lecitus Smith runs a drill on March 4, 2022.

The Arizona Cardinals drafted a total of eight players in the 2022 NFL draft and might’ve found amazing value in a particular prospect.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay gave his opinions on each NFL team’s biggest steal in the draft.

Kay included the Cardinals, as he wrote that Virginia Tech offensive lineman Lecitus Smith provided the most value in the sixth round at No. 215 overall.

“Smith graded out as a top-10 interior offensive line prospect this year, with the B/R Scouting Department citing his experience—he started 36 games at left guard for the Hokies—stout build and excellent pass-blocking capabilities,” Kay wrote.

“Still, the Cardinals should be thrilled that they landed a player with a chance to make an immediate impact along an offensive line that could use the help,” Kay continued. “He may not be a first-year starter, but he should make the roster and has a great chance to earn a rotational role early with the upside for more.”

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Why Did Smith Fall to the Sixth Round?

Kay went on to point out why Smith fell to the Cardinals in the sixth round.

“Despite this, Smith didn’t come off the board until near the end of the sixth round. It was a rather surprising fall, but he has had issues with consistency as a run-blocker and isn’t an ideal size for an NFL guard.”

Smith stands at 6-3 and weighs 314 pounds, which can plant the young offensive lineman into competition at right guard. The Cardinals don’t have a sure-fire right guard with the likes of Will Hernandez, Josh Jones and Justin Murray on the roster.

Smith started at left guard in nine of his 10 games for the Hokies in 2021. He was also a 2020 All-ACC honorable mention.

NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein wrote about Smith’s positives and negatives.

An athletic, three-year starter at guard with a decent frame, Smith lacks the desired measurables for the position. He is capable of working as a move blocker and out in space. However, he really struggles with hand placement and staying under control at the point of attack and on work-up blocks.

Smith is also intriguing as he allowed just two sacks since 2020 out of 581 pass-blocking snaps per Pro Football Focus.

Cardinals Drafted Second Offensive Lineman

In case you missed it, offensive lineman Marquise Hayes was the Cardinals’ last seventh-round pick, who started 13 games for Oklahoma.

Due to Hayes’ efforts, he was voted Second-Team All-Big 12. He played with Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown in 2017 and 2018. Brown is now a Cardinal after being traded from the Baltimore Ravens for a first-round pick.

Hayes spoke to reporters about reuniting with his two former teammates.

“I know Kyler; we’re good friends,” Hayes said, via Sports Illustrated’s Alex Weiner. “And also Hollywood Brown, so that’s good, familiar relationships right there.”

He was a three-year starter at left guard for the Sooners. At 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds, Hayes is fit to wind up as an NFL offensive guard.

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