We took a look as the Arizona Cardinals safety position earlier in the week and today we'll break down the corner back position in what should be a much improved secondary. Both of the starting corner backs from last year's season opener are gone and both new starters should be a significant upgrade. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Bryant McFadden have the size and abilities to be a special duo this season but it's the depth behind them that will be battling for playing time and roster spots. As with safeties the Cardinals will likely carry between four and six corners on the 53 man roster (only four made it last year), depending upon how many safeties are also able to play corner in a pinch. We'll break the guys down into three groups, locks, bubble and no chance. These groups refer to chances of making this year's 53 man roster, not necessarily the practice squad or any team in the future.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Bryant McFadden, Ralph Brown
On the Bubble
Greg Toler, Michael Adams
Wilrey Fontenot, Tony Banks
Ralph Brown being a 'lock' is probaby debatable but unless the Cardinals plan on using Rolle exclusively as a nickel corner, I can't see Toler or Adams being ready for that much responsibility. It's possible that Toler and Adams could both make the final squad, leaving the team with four corners, but if they decide to roll with just two, it'll most liekly come down to who is better on special teams and how safe the Cardinals feel about sliding Toler through to the practice squad. Here's a quick look at the 'bubble' and 'no chance' guys.
Greg Toler: This year's fourth round pick is a promising player with a ton of athletic ability but his learning curve will be amazingly steep and his overall skills are still raw. Given his draft status, it's unlikely that Toler wouldn't make the team but fourth round picks have been cut before and he'll have to prove that he's an asset on special teams units. He could also help his status if he's able to contribute in the return game.
Michael Adams: Adams, an undrafted free agent entering his third season , spent most of 2008 on the practice squad although he was called up late in the season. He appeared in five regular season games and all four playoff games, although most of his playing time was restricted to special teams. Adams' size (5'8 180) will always be a hinderance but he's the kind of fierce competitor and special teams terror that make him hard to root against. Still though, it'll probably take the Cardinals carrying five corners for Adams to get a roster spot.
Wilrey Fontenot: Fontenot was a seventh round pick of the Falcons in 2008 but he was cut during camp and Cardinals added him to the practice squad shortly thereafter. He was a four year starter at the University of Arizona and has good athleticism but his size (5'9 170) doesn't do him any favors. His dream season this year might very well be following the same path that Michael Adams did in 2008.
Tony Banks: Banks, an undrafted rookie, is an interesting kid with good athleticism and better size than most in his shoes (5'10 195). He's played both corner and safety in the past although his size indicates he's best suited to play corner. He had a reputation for making plays while at Penn State but he still probably needs at least on year on the practice squad.
After digging all the way through, the corner position seems pretty clear cut. Toler is almost certainly going to be the fourth corner on the depth chart and Adams fate will likely deped on how many corners the team decides to carry. We all know that where Antrel Rolle lines up on passing downs will also effect this group but who's to say that they still don't keep five for special teams purposes. Any bold predictions? Any surprises in this group?