The lack of success for the Arizona Cardinals in 2016 can be attributed to a multitude of things. The offensive line was banged up (and maybe not even good enough if they had been healthy all year). The wide receiver corps was inconsistent and also plagued with injuries. The defense still has plenty of holes that could use plugging.
So which of these problems can realistically be fixed to help get the Cardinals back in the playoffs in 2017? Let's take a look at a few that just might help.
Retain Chandler Jones and Calais Campbell: I am no cap-ologist, so I'm not going to pretend like I know what the Cardinals can do to get Jones and Campbell both under contract extensions, but they have to find a way to do it. The reason so many players had career years, such as Tony Jefferson and Markus Golden, is because of these two creating so much havoc and drawing attention up front. Campbell, at age 30, arguably had one of the best years of his career. Meanwhile, Jones was everything and more that the Cardinals wanted when they traded with the New England Patriots for him.
Offensive line help: It's no secret that the Cardinals have struggled with finding the right pieces to mold a dominant offensive line. That isn't to say they haven't made the investments to do so (both through free agency and the draft), but for all the investments made, the results still aren't there. Mike Iupati looked average at left guard this past year. Jared Veldheer isn't getting any younger and will be coming off injury. A.Q. Shipley is not a long term answer at center. And there is no guarantee that D.J. Humphries can continue showing promise in 2017.
The Cardinals need more help along the line, even if that help comes in the form of depth. That depth was tested this past year when Veldheer, Evan Mathis and Ulrick John all went to the injured reserve. New, young talent needs to be brought in so that Carson Palmer can remain protected. After all, the success of the offense all comes down to what he and David Johnson can do. Filling the center and right guard roles will be paramount.
Cornerbacks: I've already discussed this a little while back, but the Cardinals need help in the secondary, specifically at the cornerback spot across from Patrick Peterson. Marcus Cooper is due to become a free agent and, frankly, he just doesn't cut it. Brandon Williams may develop, but he's still probably not ready. Justin Bethel is more of a slot guy, as evidenced from the last two games against the Seahawks and the Rams.
I think the Cardinals need to address their needs at the corner position early on in the upcoming draft, but there are a few different ways they can go.
What do you think Arizona Cardinals fans? The team could stand to make upgrades at wide receiver, draft a consistent backup running back to pair with David Johnson and many other things, but these are just a few ideas that absolutely need to be addressed.