Very few Arizona Cardinals disappointed as much as Justin Bethel in 2016.
Maybe not because of ability, but because of salary and expectations that were given to him based on that salary.
Bethel was terrible on the outside during the season, my friends over at Bleacher Report, Ian Wharton and Kyle Posey, graded cornerbacks for Bleacher Report 1000, a ranking system of every player in the NFL.
Well, according to Wharton and Posey, Bethel was number 128 out of 133 corners graded in 2016.
That... Is... Awful.
Yet, at the end of the season, with a slight twinge in position, Bethel stepped up his play. He moved into the slot and made plays for the first time in coverage in... Well, I can’t even remember.
This play, the ability to make plays in the slot would be a huge boost to the Arizona Cardinals and not only make Bethel worth his contract, but also allow for the Arizona Cardinals to make some corresponding moves in the offseason.
Tyvon Branch, he’s an injury concern and if cut, he is a savings of $2.75 million.
Could Bethel’s play in the slot make this a possibility?
Did his play show you enough at the end of the season to give you confidence in that?
Maybe it is time for Bethel to shine.