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Arizona Cardinals 53-man roster after the third preseason game

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Projecting the Arizona Cardinals 53-man roster.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Offense (26):

QB (3):
1. Sam Bradford
2. Josh Rosen
3. Mike Glennon

My first depth chart predicted Josh Rosen would be the starter no matter what after preseason, and also said that it didn’t matter if Bradford was healthy. Not true. I forgot how talented Sam Bradford really is, and it isn’t something that Josh Rosen hadn’t done, it’s just business. Sam-I-Am is a total passer, and now, I have no doubt about his abilities. Sam Bradford is the starter, and that will not change.

Mike Glennon needed to prove something for being a $4M backup. Did he? I have no idea, it seemed like a mixed bag that made me nervous. He made some nice check-downs, but on a couple of his mid-to-long range balls, he’d miss by 6 inches. Here’s the thing though; sadly, Keim typically doesn’t like to admit failure until it really needs admitting. I really liked Charles Kanoff, and I definitely think I saw more potential from Kanoff then any safety blanket that Glennon might provide, but sadly, it doesn’t work like that.

RB (3):
1. David Johnson
2. Chase Edmonds
3. T.J. Logan

FB (1):
1. Derrick Coleman

The running back room is good. Sorry, it’s great. It’s just preseason, but holy guac Edmonds and T.J. Logan look like dynamic change-of-pace backups. I couldn’t help feeling sad for D.J. Foster, that guy worked his tail off, and looked like a real receiving threat out of the backfield. Speedy recovery D.J.. An injury typically makes me feel sick, but someone usually benefits from it. T.J. was able to breakthrough the right side of the line quite frequently.

The fullback come in with versatility, and I don’t see any reason to keep two, sadly. I know that everyone loves Elijhaa Penny, I love his attitude of running, but somehow, he’s stayed firmly as the second fullback with no running back reps. Yes, I saw him get a run, that’s not enough to keep him. Coleman, on the other hand, was a great offseason addition. He plays the run so freaking well in this scheme, he can jam it in the middle of a defense, he catches, and he still has time to be a solid special teams contributor.

WR (5):
1. Larry Fitzgerald
2. Chad Williams

WR:
1. Christian Kirk
2. Brice Butler
3. Trent Sherfield

TE (3):
1. Ricky Seals-Jones
2. Jermaine Gresham
3. Gabe Holmes

Fitz is obviously the number one receiver on this team, and he will be the number one target. Here’s my certainty for the receivers in my opinion; Fitz, Brice Butler, Christian Kirk, and Chad Williams. I think honestly, that leaves a few options available for that final two receivers spot on the depth chart. Greg Little vs Trent Sherfield vs J.J. Nelson. I have belief that J.J. would make the roster, but he had a couple of drops during preseason, and so did Greg Little. I need reliable hands, and to pair with speed, that’s what Sherfield has. Great game speed, better then anticipated route-running, and solid hands. I only saw one drop, and he’s been on the second team offense since the Saints game. Sherfield reminds me of Allen Hurns, and could make an impact in a similar way during his rookie season.

From what I’ve seen in this preseason, I’m very comfortable with RSJ’s blocking ability, and think he’s earned first team reps. Yes, I have not seen Gresham, but that’s why Seals-Jones deserves to be the starter, we still don’t know what Gresham can do physically. Gresham is still a better all-around tight end than Seals-Jones and Gabe Holmes, but RSJ has great hands, and a catch radius that would make Tony Gonzales blush.

OL (11)

LT:
1. D.J. Humphries
2. John Wetzel

LG:
1. Mike Iupati
2. Daniel Munyer

C:
1. Mason Cole
2. Evan Boehm

RG:
1. Justin Pugh
2. Josh Allen

RT:
1. Andre Smith
2. Will Holden
3. Korey Cunningham

The start of training camp, the beginning of OTAs, we heard Steve Wilks call this offensive line the strength of this team, and I doubted him. In my mind now, I think he’s right. The whole offensive line (please, oh please football gods, don’t curse us) stayed mostly healthy, excluding A.Q. Shipley. Injury again bred opportunity, as Mason Cole has really been a godsend for the line. He sets an edge, and seems very keen on switches and baits. I don’t know how Keim and Wilks did it, but they may have struck gold with this combination. Even Andre Smith is playing better then anticipated, and seems to have a great push off in the run.

The backups seem to have been a big strength since making adjustments to benefit the line. Daniel Munyer maybe has a problem focusing on a snap and block, so we saw a regression in the snap itself. How do you fix someone’s confidence when the snaps not working? Switch him to guard, and let him do what he does naturally. He pulled from left to right on the T.J. Logan run that went 50+ yards, and you could see him completely dismantle the defensive end on the play. That whole play is the definition of having a comfortable position group. You see John Wetzel set an edge and block out Randy Gregory. Munyer executes a great pull. Boehm brings a crack-back block on the defensive tackle. Josh Allen is able to maneuver a power move past Logan. And with a tremendous push off the line, Holden pushes the help block, and is able to connect on the block on the second level with a linebacker. I think all five backups are valuable, and if one of them didn’t make the final cut, I guarantee they would be snatched up. Lastly, we see an 11th member of the line, the developmental prospect of Korey Cunningham. Cunningham had a good training camp, and seems to be the favorite of the coaching staff. He’ll probably stay.

Defense (24):

DL (9)

LDE:
1. Benson Mayowa
2. Markus Golden

LDT:
1. Robert Nkemdiche
2. Olsen Pierre

RDT:
1. Corey Peters
2. Rodney Gunter
3. Siupeli Anau

RDE:
1. Chandler Jones
2. Vontarrius Dora

The ends are set in my mind, and that’s where I’ll start. I loved the edge that Benson Mayowa set for this game, and he seems like a natural fit in this 4-3 zone-scheme. Until Markus Golden comes back COMPLETELY from injury, he will rotate in the beginning of the season with Mayowa and the very athletic Vontarrius Dora. I think Golden has a very powerful punch, and he’s going to be just fine when he returns. Who knew that Dora had a 3 sack performance in him? I didn’t. He seems like a legitimate pass-rusher, and I think he’s earned it. Some are going to be disappointed that Cap Capi misses two straight years. He’s done a great job this preseason, but I think it’s between having a fifth defensive end and a defensive tackle, and the recent injury issues with the tackle position has me nervous. Really, I don’t want to give Alec James up, and have a feeling he’s going to get scooped up.

I was so surprised to see such improvement with the defensive tackle position, as Nkemdiche and Peters (when healthy) showed consistency to push the pocket, and seemed like a very competent duo. Oh, and you didn’t even see a drop off in play when Olsen Pierre and/or Rodney Gunter hopped in the rotation. Consistent pressure from the A-gap, no matter who’s in there, is something the Cards have lacked since Darnell Dockett and Bryan Robinson (RIP). Siupeli Anau makes the roster out of necessity. He’s played very well as a strong-handed run-lane stuffer. I think Anau has a future in this league, but as soon as Nkemdiche and Peters are completely healthy, I think he’ll be the first one cut for a position of need.

LB (6)

WLB:
1. Deone Bucannon
2. Gerald Hodges

ILB:
1. Josh Bynes
2. Scooby Wright

SLB:
1. Haason Reddick
2. Ahmad Thomas

In the game against the Cowboys, the Cards used more nickel formations to fit Budda Baker, Tre Boston, and Antoine Bethea on the field at the same time, and that eliminated reps for Haason Reddick in the beginning. I think they were testing alignments, maybe I’m wrong, but this linebacker corps is going to be very good this year. Reddick played sometime near the middle of the fourth quarter, but Gerald Hodges and Haason seemed comfortable. I think Wilks was trying to send a message to Haason; be as versatile so we can depend on you in sub packages.

Talking about Gerald Hodges, man that guy has seized the moment with the Cards, and seems very natural in the run game. Shoot, his coverage skills weren’t that bad either. I’m more scared of the possibility of cutting Scooby Wright. He’s great in special teams play, and makes for an adequate backup, but that’s it, just adequate. He’s still needing development in the passing game, but he lays the lumber in the run game. Keep an eye out on the open market, maybe NaVarro Bowman. Lastly, I scanned the open market and got a linebacker that would have better coverage ability then Edmond Robinson. I studied Ahmad Thomas when he was Oklahoma, he was a slow-footed safety who could make a play in the box.

DB (9)

LCB:
1. Patrick Peterson
2. Christian Campbell

FS:
1. Antoine Bethea
2. A.J. Howard

SS:
1. Tre Boston
2. Rudy Ford

RCB:
1. Jamar Taylor

Nickel:
1. Budda Baker
2. Benè Benwikere

I used roster spots for this position group. Trust me, it’s totally worth it. Let’s start with the starting corners; Patrick Peterson and Jamar Taylor make for great outside corners, and seem to be developing into solid secondary pieces. There’s depth, but it’s deceptive based on this depth chart I’ve done. Benè is shown as a nickel, but trust me, he’s going to be inside and outside. He’s proved versatility and reliability, and he’s probably realistically the third corner. I saw some things that I really liked from Christian Campbell, and I think he’s got a natural length that makes him the possible future next to Pat P.

The safety position is very diverse, as Antoine and Tre fit perfectly with Steve Wilks scheme, and Budda Baker can play either position in a pinch, but it’s more beneficial to have all three on the field at the same time. That means putting Budda in nickel situations where he can use his natural lateral movement to keep slot corners and tight ends in front of him. So far, we really don’t see a dramatic drop-off from Baker to the honey badger. Rudy Ford has been very fast this preseason, and seems to be a great fit in zone. Lastly, A.J. Howard has been a very solid safety since week one of preseason, and has proved to be a potential gold coin in an undrafted class to be proud of. It’s a deep position.

Special Teams (3)

K:
1. Matthew McCrane

P:
1. Andy Lee

LS:
1. Aaron Brewer

It’s an eye opener for Phil Dawson. He’s not lost all that much power to his kick, but accuracy seems to be lacking. He’s missed two field goals from 53 and 55, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. He had issues last year, making only 80% last year, and putting himself in this predicament. I still don’t believe in him, and would rather try out the inexperienced McCrane. McCrane has a leg on him, and hopefully, we see his kickoff ability, although I am comfortable with bestowing it the leg of Andy Lee. Now, honestly, I don’t think they will cut Dawson, he’s a Keim signing, and Keim sticks with his guys, but I can hope. In brighter news, I think Andy Lee is returning to pro-bowl form, and he seems to have the accuracy to place the ball in the twenty. Brew seems to still be a solid long snapper, so no need to mess with that.