The Arizona Cardinals, just like any other team, are reliant upon a specific group of players in order to make their team go. Of course, one of those guys is Carson Palmer, the quarterback, leader and centerpiece of the squad. But to say the starting QB isn't one of the top five most important players on any team is foolishness. In order for a team to be successful, they have to have a consistent and steady quarterback.
So besides Palmer, who are the top five players for the Cardinals that help keep the engine running? Let's take a look.
David Johnson- This one is really a no-brainer. Johnson IS the lifeblood of the offense for the Arizona Cardinals. Whether it be as a running back or as a pass catcher, Johnson accounts for so many of the yards and touchdowns for this team (1,239 yards rushing, 879 yards receiving, and 20 touchdowns to be exact) that losing him would be absolutely devastating for the Cards.
Patrick Peterson- A leader on the defense, Peterson is one of the only non-question marks in the secondary. We don't know yet who will start on Sundays across from him, Tyrann Mathieu has consistent injury issues and Antoine Bethea and Tyvon Branch may not be starting caliber at this point in their careers. Peterson, meanwhile, is a top cornerback in the NFL and is a sure bet to be effective week in and week out against the opponent's top receiver.
Larry Fitzgerald- In my opinion, the Cardinals are a bit thin at wide receiver as it is. If you take the G.O.A.T. out of that equation, that wide receiver corps is destitute. John Brown is still a bit of an unknown after his injury riddled year in 2016. Then you have J.J. Nelson, who is a gadget player and not a top 2 wide receiver. Lastly, Chad Williams is an interesting prospect, but he's a small school rookie, so who knows what he brings to the table. Fitz is key in the running game with his blocking abilities and he is a big bodied possession receiver. Remember, he led the NFL in receptions last year, so there is no questioning that he is still a very effective player.
D.J. Humphries- Who would have thought that a guy who didn't even play in 2015 would not be listed as a top 5 most important Cardinal after the 2016 season. But given the position he plays and how well he plays it, that is exactly what Humphries is. I believe Humphries is developing into a star and to have him anchoring the left side for the next 5-10 years will be crucial for a franchise that has always seemed to have trouble in pinpointing that guy.
Tyrann Mathieu- Although a major question mark that feels like he is off the field more than on it, Mathieu is the heart and soul of the defense. He brings the passion that this team so desperately needed last year. When he is hurt, the team simply doesn't play as well. A rover all over the field, designating Mathieu as simply a 'safety' is truly doing him an injustice. He is a playmaker and a 'savage' (a phrase he often uses for himself), plain and simple.
What do you think, Cards fans? Who are your top five guys leaving out Carson Palmer?