2020-2021 Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart
|Quarterback||Kyler Murray||Brett Hundley|
|Running Back||David Johnson||Kenyan Drake||Chase Edmonds|
|Wide Receiver 1||Larry Fitzgerald||Trent Sherfield||Damiere Byrd|
|Wide Receiver 2||KeeSean Johnson||Michael Crabtree||Bryant Mitchell|
|Wide Receiver 3||Christian Kirk||Andy Isabella|
|Tight End||Charles Clay||Maxx Williams|
|Left Tackle||DJ Humphries||Joshua Miles|
|Left Guard||Justin Pugh||Lamont Gaillard||Max Garcia|
|Center||Mason Cole||A.Q. Shipley||Brett Toth|
|Right Guard||J.R. Sweezy|
|Right Tackle||Justin Murray||Marcus Gilbert*|
The Arizona Cardinals finished out their 2017-18 NFL season with a .500 record. Expectations aren’t all that high for the coming season, but they’ll have a new head coach, new defensive coordinator, and several new quarterbacks to guide the offense. One of them is a veteran who has shown the ability to lead an offense, while the other is an unproven rookie with tremendous upside.
The 2018-19 season will mark the first without head coach Bruce Arians at the helm. Instead, this will be a new regime with Steve Wilks who served as the assistant coach in Carolina and was ultimately promoted to defensive coordinator. Wilks will now try to help turn things around for an Arizona franchise that made the Super Bowl in 2009.
During the NFL Draft this summer, Arizona made a trade with Oakland to get the tenth pick and selected UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen. He’ll be swapping time with veteran Sam Bradford who signed a two-year deal with the team this offseason. He played well during his 2016 season in Minnesota before succumbing to injury issues last season and getting shelved.
In addition, Arizona added Mike Glennon as another potential play caller ahead of their rookie. Rosen could be the future of the franchise but could take time. The good news for Bradford, Glennon, and Rosen is that the team added Justin Pugh and Mason Cole as part of the offensive line which could give them more time to make plays happen. Cole will take over for A.Q. Shipley who was injured during summer practice. With an ACL tear, he’s done for the season.
The team has two major offensive stars returning with veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson. Fitzgerald was a Pro Bowler again last season but is nearing retirement, while Johnson is coming back from an injury and may not be quite the same player he was before. Overall, the team lacks offensive weapons which could make things a bit messy.
In addition to Fitzgerald, the team is likely to use veteran Brice Butler opposite him for the receiving corps ahead of J.J. Nelson, Chad Williams, and Christian Kirk. Jermaine Gresham and Ricky Seals-Jones will be the likely starters at the tight end spots where questions remain. Meanwhile, the safety position on the roster is among the best in the league featuring Budda Baker, Tre Boston, and emerging player Rudy Ford.
In terms of their defense, Arizona will move from the 3-4 to the 4-3 scheme this coming season under new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb. He helped orchestrate the Carolina Panthers’ defense and in 2017 they were tops in the league when it came to running zone coverage. Chandler Jones and Markus Golden will benefit from this as they can play defensive end which is where they naturally fit. That could be huge for both players, especially Jones, who was a Pro Bowler last season and led the NFL in tackles-for-loss with 28.
Golden is still coming back from a torn ACL he suffered last season, so the team may use former Cowboys’ defensive lineman Benson Mayowa in his place. In addition to the Mayowa signing, the team signed German Football League star Moubarak Djeri and added defensive end Alec James who had 6.5 sacks last season at Wisconsin. There’s also former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche. The team continues to believe in his potential so they’ll look for him to step it up this season.
The defense was among the top six in the league last season. It also includes Brayson Albright, Peli Anau, Owen Obasuvi, and Pasoni Tasing, amongst players looking to impress. In particular, this is a team which has a weakness when it comes to getting to opponents’ quarterbacks. Olsen Pierre had 5.5 sacks last season and may be competing for a starting role. Meanwhile, Corey Peters has been great when it has come to making the Cardinals good at shutting down opponents’ rushing games.
Special teams is another weakness for this roster. They brought in Phil Dawson for kicking last season and added undrafted free agent Matt McCrane. Dawson will continue in the starting role, with former Pro Bowler Andy Lee handling the punting. In terms of the return team, they have young players T.J. Logan and Christian Kirk to return kicks or punts. Kirk was a star punt returner for Texas A&M. Both offer young talent and speed for the special teams which was ranked fourth-worst last season.
The upcoming season can best be characterized as one of transition for the Arizona Cardinals. The team has an underwhelming offense but the potential for a trusty defense. However, they’re also under new leadership and trying to groom a rookie quarterback for the future. Most likely, this won’t be a playoff team, but they could provide some exciting glimpses of the future with Rosen, should he get playing time.