Arizona Cardinals training camp preview: The safeties

Rashad Johnson - USA TODAY Sports

A look at who is on the roster, their likely roles and who likely makes the team.

We continue with our position by position preview of the Arizona Cardinals as we approach training camp. Yesterday was a look at the specialists. Now we look at the safety position.


Currently there are seven safeties on the roster. They are:

Jonathon Amaya, signed as a free agent this offseason

Yeremiah Bell, signed as a free agent this offseason

Javon Harris, undrafted rookie

Tony Jefferson, undrafted rookie

Rashad Johnson, originally drafted by team in 2009. Re-signed this offseason to three-year contract

Tyrann Mathieu, third round draft pick

Curtis Taylor, signed as free agent this offseason

The expected starters:

Bell and Johnson are expected to be the two starters. Johnson has seen starter time. He started in place of Kerry Rhodes in 2011 when he broke his foot. He replaced Adrian Wilson last year in nickel packages. Bell is a 10-year veteran and has been to the Pro Bowl.

The likely lock on the roster:

This would be the rookie Mathieu, whom the team drafted in the third round. He is a bit of a risk because of his past off the field issues. However, he was a dynamic player in college and has impressed the coaching staff thus far, despite the fact that he is learning a new position (he was a cornerback at LSU). He could become the team's nickelback and also will be a special team contributor.

In the mix:

Amaya, Taylor and the two undrafted rookies Harris and Jefferson will battle for either one or two remaining safety slots. The team has carried as many as five safeties in the past, but the final three guys were major special teams players. Amaya has a reputation in the league as a very good special teams player. He has already played under Todd Bowles before. Jefferson is considered a bit of a wild card, as many has felt that he was one of the better safeties on the draft. Can he contribute on special teams? He will have to, unless he can supplant one of the two starters.

Likely to make the roster:

Unless they keep five on the roster, it will probably be Bell, Johnson, Mathieu and Amaya. Jefferson lands on the practice squad.

More from Revenge of the Birds:

Keep up with Cardinals news and opinions when you are not on the site. Follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and "like" us on Facebook. You can follow me individually at @senorjessroot.

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