Former Georgia center Lamont Gaillard was selected 179th overall in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals last weekend.
Gaillard started 42 games in his Bulldog career and was an All-SEC selection in his final season. Now, he looks to help bolster a Cardinal offensive line in need of work. In 2018, Arizona allowed at least 50 sacks for the second consecutive season. Gaillard could help fill that void in the trenches.
By technical standards, it could be argued that Gaillard is undersized for a lineman at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds. However, he proved that he’s a strong prospect and was awarded the “Offensive Up Front” award at Georgia’s team postseason award gala. In his time with the Bulldogs, Gaillard blocked for one of the top running back stables in the country, creating openings for the likes of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield.
Last year, Arizona’s offense was abysmal. The Cardinals finished last in the NFL in points and yards, both passing and rushing, per game. For its poor efforts, Arizona earned the No. 1 overall pick in the draft with which they took Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.
So with Murray, former All-Pro running back David Johnson and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald still in the mix, the Cardinals’ offense has the potential to put up better numbers. It all starts with the offensive line, however, and Gaillard might be the stability Arizona lacks.
The Cardinals selected center Mason Cole in the third round of the 2018 draft and he played in all 16 games as a rookie. Even though the line as a whole was one of the worst in the NFL, he appears to be Gaillard’s biggest competition for playing time heading into the year after Arizona spent a valuable draft pick on Cole.
Though Gaillard may not be the starting center when the NFL season opens, he will have the chance to earn a good chunk of playing time throughout offseason workouts and training camps.