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Redbirds 50: Ranking the top 50 Cardinals players – #31-40

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Time for another installment of our ranking of the top 50 players on the Cardinals’ roster. Let’s check in with the next batch of 10 players.

Arizona Cardinals OTA’s
Second-year RB Chase Edmonds is coming off a disappointing 2018... like the rest of the entire team. Where does he rank in this installment of the Redbirds 50?
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Earlier this week, we counted down the first batch of 10 players in the Redbirds 50, our ranking of the top 50 players on the Arizona Cardinals. That grouping was mostly special teamers and defensive depth—fairly typical players for the back end of a roster. Today, we’ll run through the #31-40 players, getting into the offensive depth (7 of the 10 players). We’ll start with a rookie a lot of people are excited about but might not have much of a role in 2019.

#40: WR KeeSean Johnson

2018 Stats: N/A (rookie)

Projected 2019 Role: Backup wide receiver

2019 Outlook: Johnson has been getting more hype than usual for a 6th-round rookie, but it’s important to remember that… he’s a 6th-round rookie. He’s also buried behind two other highly touted rookies, last year’s 2nd-round pick, and a living legend on the WR depth chart. It’s hard to envision him seeing the field much this year, but Kingsbury does figure to use a ton of multi-WR sets, and he’s purported to be the best route runner of the rookie WR trio. He’s an intriguing talent but might have to wait a year to truly show it.

#39: CB/S Josh Shaw

2018 Stats: 8 games, 12 tackles, 1 fumble recovery (with Kansas City and Tampa Bay)

Projected 2019 Role: Backup defensive back, special teams player

2019 Outlook: The Josh Shaw signing seemed to be mostly an afterthought at the time, but he is looking more and more like one of the players who will have to step up during Patrick Peterson’s suspension (especially given the release of David Amerson). He had a 2018 to forget, but he was a solid contributor for three seasons in Cincinnati before that. He’ll provide depth all over the backfield and contribute on special teams in 2019 (assuming he makes the roster).

#38: G Max Garcia

2018 Stats: 9 games, 4 starts (with Denver)

Projected 2019 Role: Backup offensive lineman

2019 Outlook: Garcia comes to the desert already familiar with our new O-line coach Sean Kugler, having played under him in Denver last season. However, the two-year starter was demoted to backup before the season. He eventually made his way back into the lineup due to injury/ineffectiveness before getting injured himself. That could very well be his situation again in 2019, as it’s easy to see starting guards Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy missing some time. Garcia didn’t exactly distinguish himself as a starter in Denver (and rated poorly by advanced metrics), but experience has value, especially on the O-line, as the Cardinals learned late last season when injuries decimated the unit. You could do worse at backup guard than Garcia.

#37: LT Desmond Harrison

2018 Stats: 8 games, 8 starts (with Cleveland)

Projected 2019 Role: Backup offensive lineman

2019 Outlook: Harrison was actually the Browns Week 1 starting left tackle as a UDFA, but he was benched when coach Hue Jackson was fired midseason. He was then unceremoniously released earlier this month due to “maturity issues.” That’s not a great sign, but he rated solidly and has starting experience at a position of need, so the Redbirds snapped him up off waivers. Assuming he makes the team (you never know with players like this), he would likely serve as D.J. Humphries’s backup and potential heir apparent in 2020… as long as his “maturity” doesn’t continue to be an issue.

#36: DT Terrell McClain

2018 Stats: 13 games, 5 starts, 17 tackles, 1 sack (with Atlanta)

Projected 2019 Role: Rotational defensive tackle

2019 Outlook: McClain has bounced around the league since coming into the league as a 3rd-round pick in 2011—the Redbirds will be his seventh team in nine seasons. But he’s been a solid depth DT at each stop and should again fill that role nicely in the desert. Until his signing last month, the only other true DT with any experience was Vincent Valentine, so McClain will be a needed veteran presence in the trenches in 2019.

#35: QB Brett Hundley

2018 Stats: No regular-season snaps in 2018 (with Seattle)

Projected 2019 Role: Backup quarterback

2019 Outlook: Hundley backed up Aaron Rodgers for a few years in Green Bay (under Tom Clements) before serving as Russell Wilson’s backup in Seattle last season. He saw extended action when Rodgers was hurt in 2017 but largely unimpressed. “Unimpressed” is also a good term to describe how most Cardinals fans feel about Hundley as Kyler Murray’s backup. Still, his mobility and familiarity with Clements are good things, as is his starting experience… although it will not be a good thing if Hundley sees the field for anything besides mop-up duty in 2019.

#34: K Zane Gonzalez

2018 Stats: 7 games, 9/14 FGs, 8/11 XPs (with Cleveland and Arizona)

Projected 2019 Role: Kicker

2019 Outlook: Gonzalez was an improvement from Phil Dawson last season, but that’s not saying much. After early-season struggles led to his release from the Browns, he was a steady if not overly impressive in his five games with the Redbirds. He was perfect from under 50 and did make two 50-yarders (out of four), which is something to build on. Can’t miss those XPs though (three misses total last season, including one with the Cardinals). He’s certainly not an upper-echelon kicker, and he’ll be near the bottom of most fantasy kicker rankings, but the Cardinals will take merely adequate in 2019.

#33: TE Ricky Seals-Jones

2018 Stats: 34 receptions, 343 yards, 1 TD

Projected 2019 Role: Backup tight end

2019 Outlook: RSJ has tantalized the Cardinals the past two seasons with his impressive size (6’5”) and obvious athleticism, but mental errors and lapses in effort have kept him in a part-time role. (Also, drops.) He has a history with new coach Kliff Kingsbury, who recruited him as a college coach, and would seem to fit well in his offense, but the TE group is stronger than it’s been in years with the signings of Charles Clay and Maxx Williams and the drafting of Caleb Wilson. As such, RSJ is no lock to make the team. But if he does, he still has a whiff of potential about him and could hopefully carve out a role in the red zone.

#32: RB Chase Edmonds

2018 Stats: 60 rushes, 208 yards, 2 TDs, 20 receptions, 103 yards

Projected 2019 Role: Backup running back

2019 Outlook: Edmonds was a buzzy player last preseason, but the hoped-for minor breakout never came to be as the entire offense got McCoy’d. As such, it’s tough to say what we really have in Edmonds at this point. Is he the ultra-productive FCS back who looked like a potential difference-maker in the preseason, or is he the timid and inefficient back we saw most of the regular season? (That Green Bay game still sticks out though.) He’ll be one to monitor in the preseason, especially since there doesn’t seem to be much competition behind him on the RB depth chart (unless one of the UDFAs surprises). Can Kingsbury find ways to use him effectively?

#31: OT Korey Cunningham

2018 Stats: 6 games, 6 starts

Projected 2019 Role: Backup offensive lineman

2019 Outlook: This might seem high for a 2nd-year former 7th-round pick who only played in 6 games his rookie season, but Cunningham impressed in his brief stint as starting left tackle last season. He figures to serve as swing tackle in 2019 with a shot to start in 2020 (as both our starting tackles are UFAs after this season). Would a player like Cunningham rank this highly on most other rosters in the league? Probably not. Such is the state of the back end of the Cardinals’ roster. But that doesn’t mean we should undersell Cunningham’s promise either.

Final Thoughts

We’re mostly through now with special teams and obvious bench players. In the next installment of the Redbirds 50, we’ll get to some high-upside rookies and low-end starters, including perhaps the only starting spot on the team still up in the air. Check back later this week or early next week for the #21-30 players.

Until then, feel free to debate these ranks in the comments. Who is too high? Who is too low? Who cares about backups anyway? All is fair game in the comments section. So have at it!