First it was Adam Schein of NFL.com who was high on the Cardinals, now Matt Williamson of Scouts, Inc has joined the bandwagon. Recently Williamson wrote an Insider piece on ESPN.com and ranked the Arizona Cardinals as having the best off season in the NFC. He gushed over the job Steven Keims and Bruce Arians are doing here in the desert.
One of the several moves that Williamson liked was the revamping of the secondary. He had this to say "Arizona's secondary is far different now than it was a year ago - - and in my opinion noticeably better, although what (Kerry) Rhodes brought to the table last season may be missed." He wanted to state that he believes Patrick Peterson is on the verge of being an elite NFL cornerback. Though Williamson didn't state it, it seems implied that Petersons play will elevate the defense despite the loss of Rhodes.
Williamson also was interested in the moves the Cardinals made in their front seven believing that the Cardinals will be transitioning to a base 4-3 defense over the year. He believes the personnel on the Cardinals roster better matches a 4-3 than a 3-4 defense.
His reasoning is that Darnell Docket can be one of the best 3-technique defensive tackles in the league and thinks Dan Williams will do well beside him. Williamson believes that Calais Campbell will excel as a 4-3 DE. Considering how dominate Campbell was last year in the 3-4, Williamsons belief that Campbell will thrive in the 4-3 is a testament to Campbell's versatility and skill. Williamson sees Frostee Rucker, Matt Shaughnessy and Alex Okafor fighting for the DE spot opposite of Campbell. That looks like the biggest weakness as only Okafor looks like a pass rushing threat. For the linebackers he sees rookie Kevin Minter being a perfect fit as a 4-3 MLB and Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington as outstanding 4-3 OLBs.
Another aspect Williamson touches upon is that he expects Arians to run a lot of "11" personnel on offense (one RB and one TE). This is the only spot I disagree, I believe we will see both King and Housler on the field a lot considering that Housler is likely to see snaps at several positions and Kings ability to block.
Williamson went on stating that he believes that the Cardinals tackle situation is in a good spot with Levi Brown coming back and the development of Bobby Massie. Brown is getting the benefit of the doubt despite missing last season with a serious injury. It's questionable to be confident in a tackle that was considered below average for the vast majority of his career.
Williamson continued on the line believe that guard was the team's biggest weakness on the line and with the drafting of Jonathon Cooper and Earl Watford it looks like the Cardinals are set in the middle. He believes that having Carson Palmer at QB will make the line look better than past Cardinals QBs have.
Overall Williamson believes the Cardinals have made huge strides over the off-season. This is great news for Cardinals fans as it is nice to finally see the team getting good press. However with any good praise it must be taken with a grain of salt. As Larry Fitzgerald recently said "You earn your pay in September." Things look up for the Arizona Cardinals and despite being in a ridiculously tough conference, Cardinals fans should be optimistic this season.