The Cardinals season begins Friday. Many fans have been anxiously awaiting this day since the end of the Draft. Now the Cardinals can prepare for the next six months, in the hopes of adding just one more game to their season.
The following days and weeks also give the Cardinals a chance to evaluate the depth they have at certain positions, and perhaps add a piece or two to those positions. There are a few that a slim in numbers, some that are absolutely stacked, and there are some that have the numbers, but lack experience. Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim, and Coach Bruce Arians, likely already have a few veterans on their radars.
Currently the Cardinals have needs at both inside linebacker and cornerback. While they have numbers at the corner positions, they lack experience outside of Patrick Peterson, and Justin Bethel to an extent. They recently brought in Mike Jenkins to help, and are also bringing in Chris Culliver for a workout.
There are a few notable names who could support the secondary. Leon Hall comes to mind first. Hall impressed the coaching staff during the Bengals visit to the Desert, and has been linked to the Cardinals for awhile now. At 32, Hall would make a lot of sense, as he could add a distinguished veteran presence to a room full of young players. After Hall, the only other player who would make sense is Culliver. Culliver has been around Arizona for awhile.
He was a third round pick by the 49ers in 2011, and played with the 49ers until 2014. He signed a four year deal with the Redskins in 2015, only to be suspended one game, and tear his ACL and MCL in November. Culliver recorded two interceptions against the Cardinals throughout his career.
It's likely that only Culliver gets brought in. Culliver is 27, compared to Hall at 32. Culliver is a reliable vet who can help develop the younger guys as well. The only concern for him is how his recovery is coming. He tore his ACL and MCL nearly a month before Tyrann Mathieu tore his ACL. If Mathieu is ahead of schedule, can both players make their returns by Week One?
Outside of Corner, Inside Linebacker is the other position that needs a look.
There is really only one player currently available on the market that warrants any sort of interest. When you eliminate Deone Bucannon and Kevin Minter, there's no one behind either player who you feel absolutely comfortable in. So who's name comes to mind?
The 31 year old veteran just spent the last 10 seasons playing on a handful of playoff teams, and a plethora of mediocre units. So why would he not come to a team contending for a Super Bowl, and one that needs some depth at the positions? Tulloch is coming off one of his lighter years in memory. He missed all but three games in 2014, the first time he missed any time in his 10 year career.
He won't be asked to do much on the field anyway, other than act as a mentor for a young Bucannon and Minter, and fill in during the rare times they are not on the field.
Outside of those two positions, areas like Tackle and Guard could possibly get a look at.
Veldheer is the solidified starter on the left side, but the right side is a question mark. DJ Humphries is in his second year, and the Cardinals do not know what he has to offer. Behind Humphries is Earl Watford, who had some playing time at Right Tackle last season, and could very well be an outside shot to compete, but the Cardinals could look for an aging veteran to possibly come in on a one year deal and work with him to give him more knowledge. A guy like Jake Long perhaps?
At Guard, Mike Iupati and Evan Mathis are your starters. Outside of them both only Earl Watford has playing time. It's unlikely the Cardinals make a move to fill the depth here, but it's something to keep an eye on as camp progresses.
Is there a player on the market you're watching and hoping we sign? Discuss in the comments.