With the Arizona Cardinals a week away from camp, the rankings and predictions for the 2018 season are coming in fast and furiously.
One ranking that caught my eye was that of the pass rushing unit rankings from Pro Football Focus.
They ranked every unit in the NFL and the Cardinals found themselves pretty low overall, but maybe more perplexing, they were ranked last in the NFC West.
The Cardinals came in ranked 20th in the NFL according to PFF in pass rush units.
The Rams, understandably, ranked at fourth overall in the NFL.
However, the rest of the NFC West rankings are harder to understand.
The Cardinals at 20th is fine, until you start to peel back the fact that the Seattle Seahawks, with no established pass rushers, are at 18th, while the 49ers, with DeForest Buckner are ranked 19th.
So, the Cardinals are ranked 20th, despite having Chandler Jones, while the Seahawks and 49ers are ranked ahead with equally unproven pass rushing units and no one as disruptive or proven as Jones on the roster.
While the rankings are likely interchangeable, it still shows the Cardinals don’t generate the same type of looks as their fellow NFC West opponents.
When you look at the non-Rams in the division, is anyone as good as Chandler Jones as a pass rusher? The answer is unequivocally no.
From there, you rank the top pass rushers, 2/3/4, but the idea that the group of 49ers past Buckner or the Seahawks past their top pass rusher are better than the Cardinals is an interesting one.
Markus Golden is the unquestioned most successful second piece out of the three teams, if you want to downgrade him because of his injury in 2017, that’s fair, but who has done as much as Golden when healthy…? I’ll wait while you try and find a metric to put anyone in the same class.
It’s just another metric that puts the Cardinals at the bottom of the barrel.
It’s going to take success in 2018 in order to show the critics they’re wrong.