Robert Nkemdiche, Corey Peters, Rodney Gunter, Ed Stinson, Xavier Williams, Josh Mauro, Pasoni Tasini, Olsen Pierre, Frostee Rucker
The question is a simple one… can the Arizona Cardinals find a way to replace the production and effectiveness of Calais Campbell.
Not a single lineman on the roster has endured a full season of snaps like Campbell played, outside of Rucker who is just too old to expect to do that this year.
Nkemdiche needs to become a strong presence in the rotation. It's unfair to expect him to be able to replace Campbell, but he should be able to give you 60% and then finding another 30-40% of what Campbell was should be doable.
We know what Peters is and that's an anchor against the run. He can give you some pass rushing snaps, but the achilles injuries have sapped some of that quickness, but he's special against the run.
Gunter seemed to regress from his strong rookie campaign as a nose tackle, but that's also the position, there are times where you just don't make plays but allow others to do so.
What was more startling for Gunter was the reduction of snaps played, but if he can get to 40-50% of the snaps again, and play well, it'll be progress.
One of the strengths of the Cards is that they have depth in the line. Stinson and Mauro are fantastic role players, who can give you high end snaps for 20-30 snaps a game, but asking them to be more could be where trouble starts to occur.
Xavier Williams and Olsen Pierre are the players who will again have a chance to turn heads as young interior players. Williams gives the Cardinals another run stuffer, Pierre could be the guy who brings a pass rush element that they lost in Campbell.
Rucker is the cagey veteran, who will continue to help the young guys and give the Cardinals some snaps every game, but how many is a legitimate question.
Tasini seems to have long off to make the roster, but the big guy could find himself as a practice squad candidate.
The Cardinals desperately need Nkemdiche to grab the bull by the horns and become a player. Again, being Calais Campbell is not needed, but giving them 60% and only needing the combo of Mauro, Pierre and Stinson to make up the other 30-40% would make the Cardinals defensive line still a force.
A rotation of:
Nkemdiche, Peters, Gunter
Mauro, Pierre, Mauro
With some of Williams and Rucker sprinkled in could be a plus for the defense. They need it to be so to get back to the playoffs in 2017.
Rucker? Peters? These are the only two “big names” unless the Cardinals become completely disenchanted with Nkemdiche. None of that seems possible. Maybe Rucker, but at his age, with the wear and tear on him, it wouldn't be shocking.