Training camp is underway and the Arizona Cardinals finally have the chance to work together as a team to fix the mistakes that caused them to go 7-8-1 last season. While most of the starting positions, such as quarterback, running back, and offensive tackle are already settled, there are a couple of starter spots as well as some backup/depth areas that still need a true placeholder and thus are open for competition.
Let’s take a look at a few of those areas below.
Right guard- Evan Boehm is the presumed starter at right guard, but if another player has a big camp, it is not inconceivable that he could be surmounted for that starting job. Good reports have come out regarding Will Holden and Cole Toner could fight for that spot as well. I don’t see Dorian Johnson giving these three much of a run, but you never know. My prediction is still that Boehm wins this job and begins the season as the team’s right guard.
Cornerback #2- This competition, as it stands, is really between Brandon Williams and Justin Bethel. All of this could be thrown awry if the Cardinals decide to sign someone else, which seems to be a possibility after Adam Schefter reported Brandon Flowers will visit the team on Wednesday. If he is signed, he would move to the favorite to win the starting job opposite of Patrick Peterson.
Backup running back- Chris Johnson is back with the team, but in my estimation, he is not solidified as being David Johnson’s backup. Could this be the year Kerwynn Williams finally gains hold of that job? What about an underdog like Elijhaa Penny? I still believe CJ2K will be the backup, but crazier things have happened...
Strong safety- To me, this is a legitimate competition, but I am not sure it matters since the Cardinals play so many packages with a lot of defensive backs on the field. Still, keep an eye on Tyvon Branch vs. Antoine Bethea. A couple of grizzled veterans, these two are sure to push each other throughout training camp.
The defensive line- This, to me, is the area where we should focus most of our attention. Granted, big defensive linemen get swapped in and out frequently throughout a ball game, but it will be interesting to see how the snap counts shake out. Can Robert Nkemdiche solidify himself as the star he was drafted to be and replace Calais Campbell? That is the hope. How about Rodney Gunter? Can he rebound from a quiet 2016 season? Does Frostee Rucker still have some juice in the tank to the point where he can be a big contributor?
What do you think, Cards fans? Which camp/roster battles are you most looking forward to?