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Arizona Cardinals rookie class up and down preseason continues in Bengals loss

The 2014 class has had some amazing moments and some forgettable ones, that trend continued Sunday night against the Bengals

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Whether or not the Cardinals have a shot to win it all this year might not weigh too heavily on the 2014 rookie class, but they could tilt the balance of power enough with their play that maybe, just maybe they could be more than just close in 2014.

Let's look at how the rookies did on Sunday.

Deone Bucannon

WOW! That's about all you can say when it comes to what Deone did in week three of the preseason, as Bucannon was the heat-seeking missile that we all were waiting to see since he was drafted.

Bucannon was playing mostly in the box against the Bengals and it was his work in the run game that made him so effective.

Bucannon has struggled breaking down and making plays over the first couple of weeks, instead looking for kill shots, coming down in the box out of control and missing tackles. This week that was nearly gone.

When Bucannon plays like he did this week in the run game, combining that with his work in zone coverage, coming up and making sure tackles, he is a special player. It will ease the pain of not having Daryl Washington.

Troy Niklas

Sunday was perhaps the most uninspiring performance of the preseason for Niklas. He has been struggling at times in his run blocking, but this week he missed too many assignments and didn't do enough in the passing game to counter that at this point.

With his lack of impact thus far, that means more time for Rob Housler (or maybe Darren Fells at this point) to play alongside John Carlson, and more time getting accustomed to the NFL and its game.

Kareem Martin

Talk about a guy starting to understand what he needs to do to be effective in the NFL game.  There were some instances in which he took himself out of plays. When he did that, you saw that he still does not understand how to use his length to his advantage, but he anchored much better this week than previously.

One of the things that we all expected from Martin is him to be a force in pass rush situations, but through three games he has only produced two pressures in 37 pass rushes.

John Brown

The talk about Brown has been outstanding and it makes sense, as he is a guy who literally has been open on almost all his targets thrown his way.

He had a "drop" and I use that term extremely loosely, but he also was missed consistently running open. He then made the catch that we all know.


Logan Thomas

Thomas' second preseason impression was not his finest. in fact, his first passing attempt was a sack because he didn't get rid of the ball soon enough. From then on, he was skittish.

Thursday's game should show us more, as Thomas has the ability to make throws. However, he cannot afford to come in and freeze up.

Thomas was so impactful against Houston because he hit his drop and got rid of the ball. This week he did not do that and it showed in his performance.

Ed Stinson

Ed Stinson, welcome to the NFL.

Stinson's ability to anchor in the run game was evident in his reps, 19 of them against the run, and it became evident that he may be the one who will makes the most impact against the run off the bench. He showed he needs to get snaps in the regular season.

Walt Powell

Powell's snap count went down in their biggest preseason game, while Brittan Golden's remained similar to the rest of the starters.

Powell's impact as a gunner shows consistently and Golden did not get any reps in coverage, so the question becomes, is that a good or bad sign for Powell?

He had no targets and his snaps went down... What do you expect?

Anthony Steen

Steen continues to do well in his limited snaps. While it doesn't look like the Cardinals exactly have a ton of space on their interior line for the final roster, so we will see what happens with him because he cannot play tackle.

The Cardinals did not try to run much with Steen in the game, but he was able to hold his own in pass protection, and looked good doing so.

We will see if he has the ability to hang on the roster, but it will be a tall task at this point.


With the play of Bucannon, Brown and Stinson thus far, and the continued maturation of Kareem Martin, this class could be very impressive.