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Under the Radar Arizona Cardinals: Offense

Arizona's offense last year was one of the best in the league. These guys could make or break another big year.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Fitzgerald. Carson Palmer. David Johnson.

I could go on. Most of the offensive players are known to us Cardinals fans, and now many of them are known because of the popularity of the All or Nothing show.

The above mentioned guys had huge roles in the series, along with several others like Chris Johnson, Jared Veldheer, and Mike Iupati.

Those guys are the core of the offense, but as you and I both know, football is a team sport. And you need guys who you don't expect to step up every week.

So who are some guys that will be under the radar in 2016 for Arizona?

1. J.J. Nelson

This is the most obvious choice, as he has created a lot of buzz this offseason, from praise from Palmer and Ariana mostly. His stats from last year were impressive, but not mind blowing. He made important catches when he needed to.

And that should continue this year. Barring injury I don't see more than 40 catches for JJ. There's just not enough to go around.

Just like John Brown, Nelson can stretch the field. Unlike John Brown, however, he won't be covered by a top 3 CB on the opposing team. And we know that BA loves mismatches.

This could lead to some big plays for #14.

2. Evan Mathis

Offensive Lineman as a whole are generally underrated--mostly because we don't really appreciate the work they do play in and play out.

Mathis may just be on a 1 year deal, but he will be an important piece. He was rated among the top run-blocking guards in 2015 (anybody that watched Denver knew they could run the ball and little else at times), so that should be a boost to David and Chris Johnson.

He might also have to call the plays, however, if Evan Boehm wins the center job. Not to mention that he has what is essentially a rookie next to him in DJ Humphries.

The Cardinals need Evan to have at least close to the season he had in 2015 for Arizona to make it to the Super Bowl.

3. Jermaine Gresham

Another signing that went generally unnoticed because Greaham didn't put up gaudy numbers last year.

What he did do was finish behind Gronk as far as his blocking went. That is impressive, and there's a reason he was offered decent money on the open market.

he turned it down because he knew he had unfinished business in Arizona. Arians wants tight ends that can block (which is why they drafted Troy Niklas), and Gresham should be on the field a lot because he can.

And I hope he finishes his business in 2016.

Speaking of Troy....

4. Troy Niklas

This is a make or break year for the former 2nd round pick, and right now it's not looking great.

Niklas has never developed into the tight end that they hoped he would, and he sits at best at 3rd on the depth chart behind Gresham and Darren Fells.

The reason this is Niklas and not Fells is because I think we might have seen at least what Fells is or can be. I have no idea about Niklas.

Ideally he catches 20 passes and becomes a valuable role player and blocker that they need. If not, he may not be around much longer.

5.  Jaxon Shipley

If Shipley makes the team, and that's a big if, he could find himself needed. After all, I never would have thought JJ Nelson would make all the big plays he did last season. While they do still have Jaron Brown and Brittan Golden, all it takes is one of those guys going down or having a bad preseason.

There has been some talk about Shipley before, and could be a decent underneath route runner given the opportunity. The Cardinals have been lucky that outside of Michael Floyd has several injury issues, for the most part the receiving corp has stayed healthy.

If that changes this year, watch out for Shipley...