Arizona Cardinals position battles: Who trended up and who trended down

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Check out who's in danger of dropping on the depth chart. No one is in danger of being axed from the roster yet, but persistent failure could lead to that for two of these players.

To earn a spot on an NFL team, one must be on the field to show why he is a better option over his competition. For some players who sat out Friday night due to injury (all 12 listed here), their spots became harder for them to earn.

Others made a leap toward becoming Arizona Cardinals as they helped the team defeat the Green Bay Packers in a 17-0 shutout win.

Whose stock is up and whose is down after the first preseason game of 2013?

Offense

Trending up: Jaron Brown and Charles Hawkins

Both Jaron Brown and Charles Hawkins are undrafted rookie wide receivers, and both played well in the preseason opener. Brown had five receptions for 46 yards (9.2 yards per catch) and a touchdown, while Hawkins had four receptions for 92 yards (23.0 YPC).

Though Brown had half the yards Hawkins did, the 6'2" former Clemson Tiger stood out by converting on at least two third-down situations. His touchdown came from backup quarterback Drew Stanton (8-of-14, 107 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 105.4 passer rating) on a perfectly thrown back-shoulder fade that covered the final yard of an eight-play, 52-yard drive to start the second quarter.

Hawkins caught two deep passes -- one for 30 and the other for 36 yards.

The battle for the No. 4 receiver spot will be a good one to watch play out the rest of the way, and these two rookies are the frontrunners as of now.

Trending down: D.C. Jefferson

The rookie tight end had a poor initial outing, dropping one pass blatantly and being unable to fight another away from a defender. Cardinals quarterbacks targeted D.C. Jefferson three times while he was in the game; he did not record a reception.

He had a poor second week of training camp after a solid first week, during which time he caught multiple passes and made some athletic plays.

Jefferson's dropped touchdown came in high and hot from Stanton, but he could have made a better attempt at it.

Continuing his poor week into the Green Bay game hurts him more than it hurts the team despite the Cardinals need for tight ends who can contribute. Head coach Bruce Arians uses multiple tight ends many times throughout the course of a game, and Rob Housler cannot be the only receiving option. Someone must step up.

Jefferson failed to do that Friday.

Defense

Trending up: Javier Arenas

Although he is a lock to make the roster, cornerback Javier Arenas is battling both Jerraud Powers and Antoine Cason for the starting cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson. Arenas was all over the field Friday night, recording five solo tackles and allowing very little yards after the catch.

He displayed good pop when tackling, and the fact that he used correct form when doing so reiterates that Arians and his staff want solid all-around football players on the roster. Great athletes who can't tackle need not apply, because despite it not being practiced by many NFL teams, tackling still is the most important element of football (shocking, right?).

Trending down: Antoine Cason

Like Jefferson, cornerback Antoine Cason had a solid first week at camp. Also like Jefferson, Week 2 left something to be desired, and it carried onto Lambeau Field.

Cason was responsible for a 50-yard pass play from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to wide receiver James Jones. No safety helped over the top, but in the NFL, there won't always be a safety to bail out a corner. These players are expected to get the job done, and Cason failed Friday night.

It's still early, so not all hope is lost. Cason is a good football player, and money can be confidently placed on No. 20 being placed in a one-on-one situation with no over-the-top help once again -- likely as soon as next week, when the Cardinals host the Dallas Cowboys.

He will make up for it if he values his spot on the roster. It's safe for now, but he may slide down the depth chart with the combination of his play and the play of Arenas Friday.

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