Last week, I finished projecting the Arizona Cardinals 2010 roster with the safeties. This week, I'll finalize the list with the actual 53-man roster. It wasn't easy, and I had no choice when I left a couple of favorites off the list. Of course, I can't predict the future, so there's no guaranteeing any of this will happen.
I didn't take the radical approach like some have. The Cardinals haven't cut big names in the past, but rather under-performers. I think Ken Whisenhunt and the front office have done a good job weeding out those type of players in the past three years, so the only names that didn't make my roster were names that you'd expect. Nonetheless, here is my 53-man roster projection for 2010.
- Matt Leinart - He's the starter for now. So far, he's said and done all the right things. The Cardinals are riding on Leinart.
- Derek Anderson - Anderson is the favorite to back up Leinart and will take the reigns should things head south.
- John Skelton - He has all the right tools to be a successful quarterback in the league. If the Cardinals don't get what they need out of Leinart, Skelton could be the future.
- Tim Hightower - Entering his third season in the league, Hightower will remain the starter at running back. Whether he can do that all season remains to be seen.
- Beanie Wells - Although Beanie isn't starting, he's expected to lead the team in rushing, and he will have a big year.
- LaRod Stephens-Howling - LSH's success last season was a pleasant surprise for a late round draft pick. He'll continue to make the same contributions.
- Larry Fitzgerald - Was there/will there ever be a doubt?
- Steve Breaston - Breaston will inherit a bigger role on the team. His numbers should increase, as well.
- Early Doucet - With Anquan gone, Early will become the physical receiver that he was. I see him as Leinart's security blanket.
- Andre Roberts - Roberts will need to battle with Jones for the number 4 spot. He is the favorite to return punts as well.
- Onrea Jones - Onrea Jones will finally earn a spot on the Cardinals roster and should split time with Roberts.
The rest of the Cardinals roster is after the jump...
- Nehemiah Broughton - There needs to be a fullback, but Broughton has impressed so far.
- Anthony Becht - Becht starts because he is the best blocker. He can also catch, but age is against him.
- Ben Patrick - The most athletic tight end on the team is Ben Patrick. If he can add superb blocking skills to his repertoire and improve his hands, he could become the starter.
- Stephen Spach - I'm unsure if Spach will really make the roster. He did little last year, but was coming off of a knee injury. We will find out.
- Levi Brown - He makes the move to left tackle, and will have his hands full with the best ends in the league.
- Alan Faneca - The team signed Faneca not long after he was released by the Jets. He'll vastly improve the rushing game.
- Lyle Sendlein - Sendlein remains the only lineman from the last two seasons that went untouched.
- Reggie Wells - After switching sides, Reggie Wells will compete to start at right guard.
- Brandon Keith - Here's the big unknown. Can Keith protect Leinart's blindside and turn into a star at right tackle? We'll find out soon.
- Herman Johnson - Most Cardinals' fans can't wait to see Johnson emerge next season. I'm included.
- Rex Hadnot - Hadnot will take the role as a back up guard and as the back up center.
- Jeremy Bridges - Bridges is the only back up tackle on the team in all reality. He played well last season and will return this year.
- Darnell Dockett - Dockett will man his side with authority, no doubt about that.
- Calais Campbell - Most of us are expecting Campbell to break out this season. He's a 6-8 monster and is only getting better.
- Alan Branch - After playing and succeeding at end, Branch is finally coming into his own.
- Kenny Iwebema - Iwebema brings depth and special teams play to the team.
- Bryan Robinson - Robinson may not last long as the starter, but he'll make it through camp.
- Dan Williams - Shouldn't take long for the rookie to see more game action.
- Gabe Watson - This year may be Watson's last chance with the Cardinals. He is indeed on the hot seat.
- Gerald Hayes - Hayes' spot still counts against the roster even if he starts the year on the PUP list, since the team would pick up a replacement in his absence. His back needs to heal -- quickly.
- Paris Lenon - The Cardinals did a good job when they picked up Lenon, especially looking at the linebacker situation right now.
- Daryl Washington - Most are hoping Washington is a quick learner and he can jump into the starting role soon.
- Monty Beisel - An aging vet that can contribute depth at linebacker and on special teams.
- Reggie Walker - Walker is an interesting prospect this year. He could take on a bigger role.
- Clark Haggans - Haggans has shown some signs of aging, but he had one of his best years last season and adds leadership to the defense.
- Joey Porter - The Cardinals' are banking on Porter to revive the team's pass rush. His age may become an issue.
- Cody Brown - Cody Brown officially begins his rookie season -- part 2.
- Will Davis - He gives the Cardinals' depth and youth. Davis could have a big year in 2010.
- O'Brien Schofield(PUP) - He will begin the year on the PUP list. Once he's off, he could become a late round steal.
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - The best corner on the team without a doubt. One of the best in the league.
- Greg Toler - Right now Toler is the favorite to start opposite DRC. Hopefully he is prepared.
- Michael Adams - Adams adds experience, leadership, and heart. I pray that is enough.
- Trumaine McBride - A former starter that adds good depth.
- Jorrick Calvin - Calvin may return punts next year. Play on defense? Not likely.
- A.J. Jefferson - He's the dark horse. With so much uncertainty at corner, the Cardinals will need to keep six signed. A.J. can help on special teams too.
- Adrian Wilson - The clear leader of the defense. Wilson could see his best year yet.
- Kerry Rhodes - One of the best acquisitions of the offseason. Rhodes will bring more consistency to the secondary.
- Rashad Johnson - There are many questions surrounding Johnson. Will be live up to his draft status? Will he be successful? Will he make the roster?
- Hamza Abdullah - Abdullah provides insurance for the Cardinals. He's a former starter that can help on special teams.
- Matt Ware - The Cardinals were fortunate to bring back Ware. He's an important piece to the Cardinals defense.
- Ben Graham - I'm hoping Graham continues his success punting the football. If he does, there's no way he can get snubbed again from the Pro Bowl. Wait, did I just jinx his chances now?
- Jay Feely - Feely is one of many new faces on the Cardinals team. Hopefully he can hit the clutch kick.
- Mike Leach - Solid, dependable long-snapper. What more can I say?
- Max Hall(QB)
- Dean Muhtadi(DE)
- Stephen Williams(WR)
- Marshay Green(CB)
- Stevie Baggs(OLB)
- Jim Dray(TE)
- Darren Mougey(WR)
- Mark Washington(OLB)
As you can see, O'Brien Schofield didn't count against the limit since he'll be on the PUP list to start the season. Once he is active, that's a different story. When that time comes, the Cardinals will have a better idea on who they can release. Another red flag was the absence of Deuce Lutui. No, I didn't forget him. With Deuce's weight issue, the depth already at guard, and his agent recently discussing a possible trade, I don't know if Lutui will make it out of camp. Other names like Jason Wright, Dean Muhtadi, and Stevie Baggs were hard for me to leave off the list also. If I could keep them all, I would.