Most would agree the Arizona Cardinals have a talented roster. Head coach Bruce Arians raves about the depth on the team, especially at some positions. However, there appears to be a different perspective nationally in terms of what the Cardinals have talent-wise.
Sam Monson wrote an ESPN Insider article ranking all 32 NFL teams in terms of roster talent. After ranking ninth in 2014, the Arizona Cardinals are 24th on this year's list.
Top five players: Calais Campbell, Jared Veldheer, Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu
Starters who should be upgraded: Alex Okafor, Matt Shaughnessy, Tony Jefferson, Rashad Johnson
Analysis: This Arizona defense has typically performed better as a unit than you'd expect from its overall talent level. The Cardinals have a couple of excellent players -- Campbell, Mathieu and a healthy Peterson -- but they also have a ton of average contributors for whom the scheme does a lot of heavy lifting.
The offense is all about potential, with former first-round pick Jonathan Cooper still an unknown quantity as the Cardinals' starting right guard, and some other question marks at tight end and fullback. Even the quarterback position is less than a sure thing, with Carson Palmer recovering from a torn ACL.
I can respect there being questions about some positions. The team does have questions -- how the defense will do with a rookie defensive coordinator, how will Carson Palmer play after knee surgery. However, this team is mostly the same and in many ways upgraded from last year when it was considered a top 10 roster in talent. They upgraded the offensive line. They got better at running back. They have much more depth at defensive line. They added Sean Weatherspoon, who is an upgrade over Larry Foote. They did lose Dan Williams and Antonio Cromartie, but Williams' loss was mitigated by the signing of Corey Peters and Cory Redding.
In terms of the starters they should replace, neither Shaughnessy nor Jefferson are starters. Okafor is at least serviceable and Johnson was very good for most of last season.
The Cardinals might not have as much top end talent as other teams, but their depth should balance that out.
Dropping from ninth to 24th says they downgraded significantly from one year to the next. That didn't happen. It could also suggest a whole slew of other teams have significantly improved. That isn't the case.
This is just a case of not knowing enough about the team they are ranking.
Top 10? Maybe not. I can respect that. But in the bottom third of the league? That is just preposterous.