Lecitus Smith could be Cardinals rookie to have surprising impact

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The Arizona Cardinals selected eight players in the 2022 NFL draft this year. They don’t expect all to make much of an impact as rookies.

They likely expect something from their first three picks — tight end Trey McBride and linebackers Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders.

However, depending on how things play out on the offensive line, it might be a sixth-round pick who has a surprisingly big impact in 2022.

That could be offensive lineman Lecitus Smith.

When he was drafted, he figured to be someone who would have to battle just to make the roster, but with center Rodney Hudson currently absent from the team, Smith could become important.

He has worked this offseason at center. And while he probably would not be Plan A at center if Hudson does not return, if Justin Pugh slides over from left guard to play center, guard opens up.

Justin Murray would likely be the starter but Smith could end up being in play.

The team’s vice president of player personnel, Quentin Harris, believes that Smith is the one Day 3 pick they drafted who could be a Pro Bowler. If Pugh ended up as the starting center and Smith, whether due to injury or competition, had the opportunity to start, he might not let that job go.

And if he were to start, he would play more than any other rookie on the team.

This isn’t a prediction, but of all the draft picks who could have a surprising impact, it would be Smith.

List

List of Cardinals players heading into the final year of their contracts in 2022

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