By: Josh Shippen
|RB||Chase Edmonds||James Conner|
|WR||DeAndre Hopkins||A.J. Green||Andy Isabella|
|TE||Maxx Williams||Darrell Daniels|
|DE||J.J. Watt||Rashard Lawrence|
|DT||Zach Allen||Leki Fotu|
|ILB||Isaiah Simmons||Zaven Collins|
|OLB||Chandler Jones||Markus Golden|
|CB||Malcolm Butler||Robert Alford|
QB: Cardinals fans should be extremely excited about their quarterback situation coming into the new season. Murray has not missed a game since his regular season debut in 2019, and has certainly made a year 2 leap with 3,971 passing yards coupled with 26 touchdowns against only 12 interceptions. Cardinals fans should be extremely optimistic about their quarterback situation.
RB: Thank goodness that the passing game is taking care of because the running backs are a little bit of a question mark. While Chase Edmonds has had his moments as a Cardinal, he has never reached 500 yards in a season and frankly is rather streaky. His backup James Conner has seen much better years, but has seemed to regress in recent years and frequently struggles with injuries. The ceiling of this RB room is decent to good, and the floor is that we could be seeing a whole lot of desperation at this position come week 8.
WR: There is plenty to be excited about with this wide receiver group, and when I say that I really mean DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins pulled in 1,407 yards in his debut as an Arizona Cardinal and was a very frequent character on highlight reels. The depth behind Hopkins is a mild concern. A.J. Green has not been healthy in two seasons and is rapidly aging before our eyes, and the Andy Isabella breakout season has been pending for a couple years now. Hopkins can absolutely carry this group, but it would be very helpful to see someone else in this group share the load.
TE: The Cardinals don’t have a tendency to use their tight ends all that much so this position should not be the main focus. That being said, Maxx Williams is a serviceable tight end which should suit the Cardinals just fine.
OL: There are lots of things to like about this group – D.J. Humphries and Justin Pugh have been very consistent at their respective positions, and Rodney Hudson’s reputation as one of the better centers in the NFL precedes him. Kelvin Beachum and Brian Winters are two players that are not quite as solid, but the majority of the line is strong and should serve the Cardinals well.
OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE: B+
DL: It could be better… Look I love myself some J.J. Watt as much as the next person but Watt has only played two 16 game seasons since the 2016 season. Aside from Watt this group is very unproven and unqualified.
LB: Chandler Jones? Did someone say defensive player of the year candidate? In a similar vein to the wide receivers Chandler Jones carries a group that features fair to decent depth. On the other hand Chandler Jones is aging, and struggles with injuries and off the field issues. The question then arises of whether Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins can grow into the role of starting linebackers. Perhaps 2021 will tell…
CB: Again, it could be better. The acquisition of Malcolm Butler in the offseason is certainly better than nothing, and is likely an upgrade over aging Patrick Peterson, but in the end it will not be enough to save the very weak depth that this position offers. Robert Alford missed the entirety of 2020 with injuries after lackluster seasons on the Atlanta Falcons. There really isn’t much to be excited about with this group, this might be the worst position group on this team.
S: Budda Baker? Did someone say most underrated defensive player ever? Budda Baker is going to carry this group of safeties who, outside of Baker and longtime starter Shawn Williams, do not look like a particularly promising group.
OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE: C+
Special Teams Breakdown
K/P: Andy Lee is widely regarded as the second best punter in the NFL and Matt Prater holds the record for the longest field goal of all time. The Cardinals should be just fine.
KR/PR: Chase Edmonds and Andy Isabella have done this drill plenty of times before.
OVERALL SPECIAL TEAMS GRADE: A
FINAL GRADE: B+