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ROTB Roundtable: Weak Links, Fitz, and Draft Picks

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As talk of the regular season begins to pick up, questions continue to surround the Cardinals franchise.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The ROTB Writing Staff takes on three of these.

Don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below!

1) What do you think will the be weak link of the offense and defense?

Jess Root: This is a tough question, actually, since the offense should be improved. The receiver depth is better, the tight end depth is better, the offensive line is better on paper and quarterback and running back should be fine. I guess, if we have to pick one spot, it would be the right side of the offensive line. Bobby Massie has been good and bad in playing time, Paul Fanaika was not good, but Bruce Arians said he was solid. Bradley Sowell was barely bearable at left tackle and Earl Watford is untested. On defense, the early easy weak link is the the play at inside linebacker. Kevin Minter is an unknown quantity right now and the other side is up for grabs. The rest of the units are either as good or deeper/better than last year.

Jesse Reynolds: On offense it has to be the right side of the line. On defense it has to be the MLBs, you don't lose two great defenders and get better.

Alex Mann: Defensively it will be the uncertainty at linebacker. Teams will target Kevin Minter and Larry Foote early too see how the unproven second rounder and aging veteran perform in the shoes of Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby. Offensively, left guard will be our weak spot. Yes, Cooper is a once in a lifetime guard, but let's remember that he is coming back from a broken leg and will take time to fully recover.

Khodder: In an effort to be different - Offensively we still have a lot of unknowns at the Tight End position. Carlson is a guy who has spent considerable time on the sideline with injuries over his NFL career and we all know the ups and downs (moreso downs) of the career of Rob Housler to date. Troy Niklas is certainly an intriguing prospect, but he was also someone who was not heavily utilised in the passing game, and has just 37 career receptions and only one season of starting experience at Tight End and to top it all off he managed to hurt his hand earlier in the offseason. This could be the single most interesting area to watch during camp and into the preseason. This could end up being a strong spot for us if Carlson can stay healthy, Niklas play belies his experience and Housler shows some consistency or we could see it very much swing in the opposite direction.

Defensively, again in an effort to be different, I am going to look at OLB. John Abraham had a phenomenal year in 2013, and nothing has indicated that he looked like he was slowing down at all, however the spot opposite him is one that is one that could prove to be the weakest spot on the defense. With multiple bodies but nobody having proven to be the complete player at the position we could see heavy rotation at this spot, likely between Matt Shaughnessy and Sam Acho. Shaughnessy looked comfortable at the spot in his first season in the role, but rarely dropped into coverage and Acho, who missed the season due to injury, has in the past shown to be comfortable in space, but has struggled to defend the run effectively and is very sporadic as a pass rusher. I like what Shaughnessy brings to the table as a role player and I expect him to take the starting role initially, but without the dynamic duo inside this year we could see him more exposed in space.

2) Is Larry Fitzgerald worth keeping, even if his contract isn't restructured?

Jess Root: That's another tough question. I guess it depends on the team situation and cap situation. If the team came close to the Super Bowl and they have the room, then it is worth keeping him. If he has another only decent year, then you have to think he is either gone or another contract redo is in the mix.

Jesse Reynolds: For me it comes down to this season, if Fitz performs like we know he can then no it's not a bad deal. Is he overpaid as a WR? Yes, but he is more than that. Face of the franchise, locker room presence, leader, etc. Guys like him make the team better. However he has to earn his keep and if he isn't performing he needs to go.

Alex Mann: No. If he restructures his deal to how he's playing now, then the Cardinals can retain the threat he posses and his veteran leadership. But if we're still forking over the mammoth amount of money he is owed next season, he is most certainly not worth keeping around.

Khodder: Without a contract restructure, this is an emphatic no. If this was 2005-2008 Larry, I would be saying do it whatever the cost. But with 2014 Larry, even if you take into account his off the field impact on the team, having him sitting on your salary cap for somewhere in the vicinity of $25M is not the right way to build a winning team. This is a long debated subject and many thought it would come to a head this offseason, however Larry agreed to take a bit more money upfront (who wouldn't) to push the cap hurt back another year. He has proven in the past he is willing to do this repeatedly and I am sure it will be on the table again this offseason the only question that remains is how long can the team continue to delay the hurt and hope that it does not come back to bite them in the rear at some stage?

3) What would you say is the greatest draft pick in Cardinals' history?

Jess Root: Wow...well, I am only going to deal with Arizona's history. The candidates would have to be Fitz or Aeneas Williams. Both languished on bad teams but were great representatives. They were the gold standard of work ethic and character. Williams is a Hall of Famer and Fotz likely will be. Williams helped the team in a playoff appearance and Fitz had a historic postseason run. I give the edge to Fitz.

And here is my snarky answer -- Logan Thomas is the greatest draft pick EVER! A steal in the fourth round, he becomes a star and leads the Cardinals to the playoffs for 10 straight years and multiple titles. OK, that's out of my system.

Jesse Reynolds: Wow, it's like picking a favorite child (if I had children)... Right now I have to go with Fitzgerald as he is likely to end his career as a top five player at his position. I don't see any other picks since I have been a fan that have been as impactful. Maybe Anquan Boldin or possibly Calais Campbell if he continues his dominate play of the last two seasons.

Alex Mann: Two picks standout, Adrian Wilson and Larry Fitzgerald. Both are, or were, at the top of the respective positions for quite sometime. You can make a case for both players to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, if I had to choose, I would say Fitzgerald. He was dominant for a long time through horrible quarterback play. He elevated players around him to make them look good, (see Early Doucet) and helped Warner lead the charge to the Superbowl. You can still put him in the top five to ten receivers in today's NFL, and easily the top five receivers all time.

Khodder: Aeneas Williams is in the Hall of Fame. It is really tough to go past him.