The Arizona Cardinals shored up their roster considerably during the opening days of free agency. They signed a couple of linebackers, made a trade for a quality starting tackle, signed a division rival offensive guard and, most notably, added depth to what was a depleted roster.
But when you are the worst team in the NFL, there is always work to do in reshaping the roster as a whole to get back to a winning level. That’s why, after free agency, these are still huge needs.
I decided to lump both defensive tackle and defensive end in the same grouping. To me, this is the unit on the roster that is currently the most lacking. Other than Corey Peters, what is really there? Robert Nkemdiche is going to be sidelined with his ACL injury for a while and isn’t really that good even when he’s on the field. Olsen Pierre now plays for the New York Giants. And the rest of the players remaining are pretty unproven or journeymen.
This is a position group that I expect the Cardinals to heavily focus on in the draft. If they trade down in the first round, there are a couple of defensive linemen that I would expect Steve Keim to have his eye on. But there may always be a straggler that is still a free agent that eventually lowers his demands for a contract, allowing him to become a member of the Cardinals.
I am in now way convinced that the offensive line is “fixed”. Yes, Marcus Gilbert was a solid add. But he is in the last year of his deal and has had some injury issues in the past. D.J. Humphries is in the same exact boat. Korey Cunningham still holds promise and Will Holden is a decent reserve tackle, but can the Cardinals rely on both of them to start if it became necessary? Drafting a tackle within the first 3 rounds seems almost inevitable.
This is another position that seems to be lacking in talent right now. Larry Fitzgerald is going to do Larry things. Christian Kirk was a stud in his rookie season before he went down with an injury. But after that, it’s question marks across the board. I do like the Kevin White signing, but I’m not sure how much he can be relied upon.
Again, this is a position that probably gets addressed in the draft, but I’m not sure if Keim can afford to spend another high pick on a receiver after doing so last year with Kirk. But if the value is there (hello, N’Keal Harry at 33), then he may just need to pull the trigger.
What are your thoughts on the biggest needs for the Cardinals? Do you see them filling most of their remaining holes with inexpensive free agents, draft picks or a relatively even combination of both?