As the Arizona Cardinals prepare for their first year under new Head Coach Steve Wilks, the narrative has been how much the change on defense is going to help and/or hurt certain players.
The names that get thrown around are usually Robert Nkemdiche, Chandler Jones and the linebacker group (help), while some wonder about Markus Golden and even how Wilks zone heavy scheme could negative impact Patrick Peterson.
One name that doesn’t get mentioned quite enough as a potential benefactor to the Wilks scheme is Olsen Pierre.
Well, Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda is doing his best to change that:
In his first two seasons in the NFL, undrafted free agent Olsen Pierre was unable to get on the field. Last season, Pierre finished with 11.5 tackles at or behind the line. That number ranked behind only Chandler Jones (29) and Corey Peters (12) for Arizona in 2017.
The best part, Pierre did that in a defense that didn’t highlight his style or play to his strengths:
Under defensive coordinator James Bettcher, the Cardinals had not had a full-time 3-technique role for any defensive tackle for several years. This is one reason why Pierre played just 33 percent of Arizona’s defensive snaps, despite his production.
Now, with the imminent switch to a 4-3 defense, Pierre will be unleashed in a new role, one that fits his ability even more:
New Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks, formerly the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator, will bring a 4-3 defense and a full-time penetrating defensive line role to the desert. That can only mean good things for Pierre, who is one of the brightest young players at the position.
It should be an exciting year for a number of Arizona Cardinals players, but Pierre could be one of the most visible in terms of on field improvement.
Now is his time to shine.