TEMPE, AZ - MAY 11: Cornerback Jamell Fleming #29 (C) of the Arizona Cardinals lines up with the defense in the minicamp at the team's training center facility on May 11, 2012 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando has been taking a look at position groups from each team in the division and focusing on one position group for each team that has the potential to exceed all expectations. For the Arizona Cardinals, that is the defensive backfield.
We know about the Pro Bowler in Adrian Wilson, the playmaker (when healthy) in Kerry Rhodes. The team actually has safety depth. Last year only Rashad Johnson got snaps, along with Richard Marshall (who is a cornerback), with Hamza Abdullah and Sean Considine being safeties that only played on special teams.
At corner, there is depth, as writes Sando:
Patrick Peterson is locked in as the starter on the left side and should be primed to take a big step forward after finishing strong as a rookie first-round choice in 2011. Former starters A.J. Jefferson and Greg Toler join Gay as candidates to start on the opposite side. Fleming is in the mix. Michael Adams, who played a third of the defensive snaps last season, offers veteran depth (he is 27).
Sando thinks it will be that hidden treasure.
But are they the real hidden treasure?
Sando also considers the tight ends. They have talent, athleticism and versatility. There is the great blocking and underrated pass-catcher in Jeff King, the complete package (but oft-injured) in Todd Heap, the potential pass-catching stud in Rob Housler and a solid contributor in all phases, including special teams in Jim Dray.
But yet another position group could be that hidden treasure, but at the end of the day it will come down to the quarterback play. The receivers could be as talented and productive a group as the team has had. Larry Fitzgerald goes without saying. Rookie Michael Floyd has potential galore. The team and coaching staff see Andre Roberts as being a special player. Early Doucet has proven to be productive. DeMarco Sampson showed flashes in the preseason. If quarterback play is ok, this group could be very good.
Cornerback is the easy answer, but tight end or receiver could be the answer to that question of which position group is the team's surprise.
What do you all think? Comment away (please!).
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