NFL free agency 2013: How does DE Matt Shaughnessy fit in with the Cardinals defense?

Rob Carr

The Cardinals signed former Oakland Raiders defensive end Matt Shaughnessy to a one-year deal on Friday. How does he figure to fit in on the new defense?

The Cardinals made another key, yet prudent signing on Friday by inking former Raiders defensive end Matt Shaughnessy to a one-year deal.

Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians said that Shaughnessy is a "lunch pail" kind of guy that will be coming "full tilt" at his opponents every play, whether that is in practice or a playoff game. It sounds like Shaughnessy will be primarily used to give Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett a breather, but he will also be a player they can utilize as a nickel pass rusher.

Signing Shaughnessy does not mean the Cardinals will be making any drastic moves along their defensive line, however. He was simply signed for depth behind Campbell and Dockett. Remember, Vonnie Holliday is headed for retirement and Nick Eason is currently a free agent. That would leave David Carter, Ronald Talley and Ricky Lumpkin as the backups. The team wanted to add another veteran to the mix that can rush the passer, which is exactly what they got with Shaughnessy.

The worrying part is that Shaughnessy registered a very negative pass rushing grade this past year in Oakland, according to Pro Football Focus. At -18.7, his pass rushing skills are being graded out as anything but prolific. The good news is that he appears to be a very talented run stuffer, as his grade was very positive in that category.

Also, we have to think about the type of defensive line that Oakland was utilizing this past year. The lack of talent could have held Shaughnessy back from his potential. His five sacks, five QB hits and five hurries came in 367 pass rushing attempts and are numbers he can improve upon.

As primarily a backup and a stopgap, Shaughnessy will provide great depth and value to the Cardinals while allowing David Carter to get another year under his belt. Look for him to push the young guys and bring some valuable leadership to this football team.

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