With a game in the books, the coaches now have some film to see which players have been consistent performers. From offseason work to training camp, all coaches had was how players looked in shorts. Now that the lights were on, and players were finally allowed to go out and hit someone, the tape will begin to speak for itself. Which players have consistently shown up? Who has been a camp performer, but shriveled under the lights.
Predictions and lists are always fun, so today we’re going to take a look at how the 53 man roster looks if the season started today.
The spots have not changed. Palmer and Stanton still top the depth chart, but another name has been thrown into the ring. Blaine Gabbert was impressive in his debut, and could very well push Stanton for that second job. The team will still likely only carry two, so the competition should get interesting.
David Johnson tops the list. Chris Johnson is an older vet so was not going to play despite being a backup. That left the team with Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington to start the game. I was shocked that Ellington was the team's third running back. With all the talk of him being a bubble player, Elijaah Penny was the one who I would have thought to be the teams third back. If the season started today, Ellington and Logan would be the last two names on the chart.
The top four are set. Chad Williams was impressive and will see some good snaps during the season. Brittan Golden always seems to fend off competition and did just that on Thursday. Golden only hauled in one pass but did more than enough to keep his name as the fifth receiver over the likes of Krishawn Hogan or Carlton Agudosi for another week. Everyone behind Golden was a little bit of a letdown.
Jermaine Gresham sat. That gave Troy Niklas and Ifeanyi Momah the reigns to start. Both players were good in their blocking and made some nice catches. The tight ends behind both did not do nearly enough to compete. Right now I see three tight ends with jobs, with someone else needing to step forward.
Again, no starters played. The second team O-line consisting of John Wetzel, Kaleb Johnson, Cole Toner, Tony Bergstrom, and Ulrick John all looked very good. Both the second and third lines were competitive and could make the final 53 man cuts interesting to watch. With five starters locks for the roster, and the second line looking very good, you now have 10 players who played well enough to make your team. The Cardinals likely won’t carry 10 linemen, but nine has not been ruled out yet.
Robert Nkemdiche had his name called often. Last year he did too. But this time around the reasoning was the complete opposite. Nkemdiche was bullying the Cowboys backup line, slicing through a double team at one point. There are currently 11 defensive linemen on the roster. The only player likely guaranteed a spot is Nkemdiche. Last season the team carried nine players on the defensive line.
There are 14 men fighting for eight roster spots. Chandler Jones and Markus Golden hold two. Haason Reddick, Karlos Dansby, and Deone Bucannon hold another three. That’s five guys locked in, leaving three spots open. Scooby Wright looked good against the run, but a liability in coverage. Zavier Gooden and Gabe Martin could round out the three, but Philip Wheeler may have something to say before it’s all said and done.
Bethel, Peterson, and Williams. Those are the three cornerbacks listed on the roster that are sure fire names to be on the September team. The rest of the players squandered an opportunity to make the team. Most are inexperienced players, so there was not much to be expected, but the Cardinals needed someone to make a name for themselves. Right now Tramon Williams is the next best option to make the roster, but he won’t play a live game until August 12.
Budda Baker and Rudy Ford lead the secondary most of the night. Ironhead Gallon came in towards the end of the first half and looked impressive enough. Harlan Miller played at corner but showed he needs to become a permanent safety. The team had three safeties to end the season, a crucial position to keep oiled since the departure of Jefferson.
Matt Wiles and Richie Leone had their opportunities to punt. Both showed us what a legitimate punting game looks like. This is truly only one of the focal battles in camp. This won’t be decided until late in the process.
Right now there 53 man roster isn’t going to change. It was only one game, and with no serious injuries to come out of it, (knock on wood) there is no concern just yet. As the preseason wears on, the roster will get more and more clearer.