The Arizona Cardinals head into the 2018 season with not very much in terms of expectations being held over their head. The Cards have a rookie coach in Steve Wilks and are in a bit of a “re-tooling” phase as they work to eventually hand the reins over to rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.
But with no expectations comes the chance for a lot of opportunity. Some players that otherwise may not make a roster will now be asked to fill significant roles and be active contributors. Let’s take a look at three players I have my eye on who could surprise us all this upcoming season.
I have already written about Bynes a bit here on RotB and think he will be pivotal in how the Cardinals defense performs. While I am not super high on the idea of him being the starting Mike, I do think he could surprise us. He surprised me last year with the way he played and he definitely looked like he belonged on the field. Here is to hoping he can build on that and surpass the mediocre performance Karlos Dansby put on last season.
The reason I have Bradford on this list is simple: most everyone expects him to fail. Not just national writers and fans of the NFL as a whole, but local media and Cardinals fans expect Bradford to get injured at some point this season. And while that is definitely a distinct possibility, we need to stop treating it as a foregone conclusion. If Bradford can start all 16 games (and hopefully more), that would definitely come as a surprise and would leave the Cardinals with a really difficult decision heading into the 2019 season.
If Brandon Williams is going to finally break out and live up to his third round draft status, this has to be the year he does it. Patrick Peterson, already a star corner for the team, has already been raving about new coach Steve Wilks’ defense and the improvements we should see from it. Wilks is known as a secondary guru and if anyone is going to harness the talent out of Williams, it will be him. It would be great to see the Cardinals finally fill the long vacant hole at the #2 cornerback spot, and hopefully a young player like Brandon Williams is the one able to do it.
There are definitely more players that could be added to this list. Who do you think belongs? Let us know in the comments below.