It has been an offseason of change for the Arizona Cardinals.
The change has come in a number of forms, from the head coach and staff, the offensive personnel and the defensive schemes.
Basically, the only thing that has remained the same for the Cardinals is the front office.
That’s why, when ESPN came out with their yearly Future Power Rankings, which project for three years into the future, it made sense that the Cardinals found themselves down at 26 overall:
This is the reality of what life after losing your quarterback and coach to retirement looks like. The Cardinals had to start from scratch at the quarterback position this offseason, making steep commitments in Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen. The areas to watch on the roster include defensive line, wide receiver opposite Larry Fitzgerald and offensive line. There’s a lot of new in Arizona, as the Cardinals are the only team with a new coach who is expected to roll out a new starting quarterback this season.
It is a fair criticism and concern.
They are basically asking the Cardinals to show them something before they believe in the team, their rankings show that.
Yet, the worries make sense:
It’s a two-part issue with the Cardinals that could derail everything going forward. First, their ability to draft and develop starters, including overall depth of the quality that will contend for division and conference titles. Second, and more specifically, did they select their QB of the future in Rosen, both in terms of the right profile for their program, and do they have the right coaches in place to develop him? I am very skeptical about part one, but I do believe in Rosen as a prospect. We will see.
The concern about drafting and developing starters is fair.
The Cardinals have nothing from their 2013 Draft Class, only have Deone Bucannon from 2014, and have zero starters from the 2016 Draft class unless Robert Nkemdiche finds himself as a starer in 2018.
That’s three draft classes with only one starter from them, that’s abysmal.
The thing is, if the Cardinals hit on Josh Rosen, it could all be okay and change the outlook of the franchise moving forward:
It’s tough betting too big on Arizona without knowing more about how head coach Steve Wilks and Rosen will fare in their critically important roles, but if both wind up being exceptional, Arizona would quickly become an NFC power again.
The teams behind the Cardinals:
The NFC West:
Los Angeles Rams - 7
Seattle Seahawks - 10
San Francisco 49ers - 13
What do you think of the ESPN rankings?