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Arizona Cardinals moving Jonathan Cooper to center

The Cardinals are making a big move with a former first-round pick.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday the Cardinals have decided to move Jonathan Cooper, the former No. 7 overall pick, to center, according to a source informed of the team's plans. Cooper originally was drafted as a guard in 2013.

Mike Jurecki of KGME-AM in Phoenix first reported the development that the team was considering a position switch for Cooper.

Cooper was benched late last season and replaced by Ted Larsen, a six-year vet and former sixth-round pick.

"When you look at the offensive linemen that are coming out of college today, it's going to take them a while to get at this level," Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told the Arizona Republic last year. "(Cooper's) tough, he's athletic. He's just continuing to grow. Right now we don't have time for the growth, because Teddy's got more experience and he's playing better. But I think he's going to be a heck of a player, just like D.J."

Cooper played in 14 games last year, starting nine. He bounced between right and left guard and allowed a total of 19 hurries, according to Pro Football Focus.

With pass protection and interior offensive line play at a premium, the move could end up being a career-changer for Cooper. Centers are typically a bit lighter, which could encourage Cooper to get a bit lighter and quicker this offseason. It would also force him to dive head-first into Arizona's offense with increased responsibilities as the nerve center of the offensive line.

A.Q. Shipley and veteran Lyle Sendlein manned the position last season.

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