Arizona Cardinals March Scouting Report
Well, what an interesting off-season this has been.
The Cardinals have done things "out-of-character" to their normal operations. Typically, the Cardinals will hang back and let the first-tier free agents go to the teams looking to spend a ton of money and get the big names and then go for the more second tier free agents that need work and want to sign a contract sooner than later! The Cardinals will look completely different this year. Let’s look at some the off-season moves and how they will affect the starting lineups on offense and defense.
QB: No change right now to the starting lineup here. QB Kyler Murray will be the go-to QB without challenge this year. QB Brett Hundley will back-up the starter Murray. A second year of experience should really help this offense at this position. Look for the QB room to add an arm or two to training camp when that happens.
RB: Changes happened in what can only be described as the biggest change and trade in the NFL this year. RB David Johnson was traded along with a 2nd and 4th round pick to Houston for WR DeAndre Hopkins and a 4th round pick. Basically, the Cardinals wanted out of RB David Johnson’s contract and found their 2020 starting running-back in RB Kenyan Drake which they got from Miami last year. RB Chase Edmonds is a capable 3rd down, backup, rest for Drake the starting running-back. I’m excited to see this duo perform. I believe the Cardinals will draft a RB and sign a non-drafted rookie or two as well. In addition, the Cardinals will also open training camp with RB DJ Foster in the fold as well. Foster is a great special teamer and has very good receiving skills. RB David Johnson will be missed in the receiving side of the ball but needs to get back to his 2016 form for the Texans.
WR: QB Kyler Murray probably thinks it is all a dream and can’t wait to get started. Imagine looking at a wide – receiver room that has WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Christian Kirk, and WR DeAndre Hopkins as the top 3! The only downside to the trade was the loss of a second round pick in 2020, but hey, I will take that every year! Could we get WR Michael Thomas next year for our second right now?
TE: TE Maxx Williams is the starter. The playbook still doesn’t utilize the TE as much as it could/should but maybe that will pick up next year. If TE Maxx Williams can get separation, with teams focusin on the dynamic trio at WR he could have a ton of upside.
OL: LT D.J. Humphries (no change) signed a new 3 year deal to stay as the anchor on the offensive line. He had a good year. Let’s see if he can repeat it when paid. G Justin Pugh (no change) will play alongside LT D.J. Humphries. C Mason Cole is ready to be the leader on this team at Center. G J.R. Sweezy will play at Right Guard and at RT Marcus Gilbert and RT Justin Murray will compete for the last position on the right side. I would expect the Cardinals to seriously look at a Tackle at the #8 draft spot in April. I would still love to see WR CeeDee Lamb or LB Isaiah Simmons on the Cardinals as their #1 draft pick but I think OL is probably the way they will be looking unless they trade down. How fun would that be to see WR CeeDee Lamb wearing #12 and watch #10,11,12,and 13 catching passes from #1!
Now, on the defensive side, we will review quickly to see the changes as well:
DL: DL Jordan Phillips had a monster year last year in Buffalo and let’s hope he can continue his attack on QBs in the desert. DL Corey Peters will anchor the middle while DL Jonathan Bullard and DL Zach Allen will be in a rotation I believe.
LB: LB Chandler Jones (Defensive Player of the Year!) will start for sure of course at outside linebacker. Acquired last year, ILB Jordan Hicks will start in the middle. ILB De’Vondre Campbell was just signed from the Atlanta Falcons. Once again focusing on defense, OLB Devon Kennard signed during free agency from Detroit. I’m still not sure why Detroit decided to let their captain go but hopefully the linebacking crew will anchor this defense.
Defensive Back: No Free Agency changes here: CB Patrick Peterson anchors the defense and who knows who the Cardinals will put out on the other side. So far it has not been a good match on the other side.
Next month we discuss the draft and further free agents.
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