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Cardinals’ 53 Update

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With 8 days before the Cardinals’ 1st pre-season game, in light of what we have been seeing in training camp thus far, here is an updated projection of the 53 man roster.

Before I begin, Kliff Kinsgbury said that at Texas Tech his magic number for receivers was 8. While Kingsbury conceded that the Cardinals may not be able to keep 8 WRs on the 53 man roster, I strongly believe that they can.

For me it’s for two simple reasons: (1) the top 8 WRs on the current roster are 8 of the 50 most talented players on the team; (2) the K-Raid depends far more on WRs in numbers than RBs and TEs.

As a result, I think the Cardinals might only keep 3 RBs and 2 TEs. It also occurs to me that Larry Fitzgerald can easily command the ‘Y” TE position in the K-Raid, when needed. Thus he can double as a WR/TE.

Offense:

QB (2): 1—-Murray; 7—-Hundley

RB (3): 31—-D. Johnson; 29—-Edmonds; 22—-Logan

TE (2): 85—-Clay; 87—-M. Williams

OL (9): 74—-Humphries; 67—-Pugh; 52—-Cole; 64—-Sweezy; 76—-Gilbert; 79—-Cunningham; 65—-Gaillard; 53—-Shipley; 75—-Sweet

WR (8): 11—-Fitzgerald; 13—-Kirk; 19—-K. Johnson; 89—-Isabella; 18—-White; 17—-Butler; 14—-Byrd; 12—-Cooper

Total: 24

PUP (1): 73—-Garcia (doesn’t count against the roster and the Cardinals can wait until he’s ready to go).

PS (3): 6—-Kanoff; 84—-Wilson (TE); 66—-Miles (T/G)

Now—-before I go on to the defense, one of justifications the Cardinals can make by keeping 2 TEs and 9 OL on the roster is knowing they can stash TE Caleb Wilson and T/G Joshua Miles on the PS and promote them if and when they need them. On game days you are only dressing 2 TEs and 8 OL anyway. Plus, you know you have OL depth coming when Garcia comes off the PUP list.

Sometimes the roster decisions come down to one player versus another. For me here it was deciding between TE Ricky Seals-Jones and WR Pharoh Cooper—-and I didn’t have to think long about taking Cooper because in my opinion he brings more value and talent to the team. I am not necessarily down on RSJ—-but we already have big target receivers in Fitz, White and Butler—-and they are all better receiving options than RSJ. Cooper is having a good camp and he’s one of the best punt returners in the NFL.

One might ask about keeping RSJ over WR Damiere Byrd—-but Byrd brings something extra special with his 4.3 speed.

I like the idea of stockpiling WRs because it allows flexibility on game days if and when some of the WRs are nursing injuries and may need a week or two off.

Defense:

DT/DE (7): 98—-Peters; 93—-Philon; 95—-Gunter; 97—-Allen; 91—-Dogbe; 71—-Bailey; 90—-McClain

OLB (4): 55—-Jones; 56—-Suggs; 50—-Reed; 49—-Branch

ILB (5): 58—-Hicks; 43—-Reddick; 52—-Gardeck; 47—-Turner; 59—-Walker;

CB (5): 23—-Alford; 33—-Murphy; 20—-Brock; 25—-Jones; 28—-Nichols

S (5): 36—-Swearinger; 32—-Baker; 27—-Shaw; 35—-D. Thompson; 38—-J. Thompson

Total: 26

Suspended: 21—-Peterson

PUP (1): 26—-B. Williams

PS (3): 41—-Brooks (CB); 42—-Owens (S); 72—-M. Brown (DT)

By keeping the top 26 defensive players, this would allow Kliff Kingsbury to stockpile more offensive players than defensive players on the practice squad, including the QB3 Chad Kanoff or Drew Anderson.

The toughest decision for me here was keeping DL Sterling Bailey and Terrell McClain over LB Tanner Vallejo. if Vallejo stands out on STs, as I think he will, then I am going to have to reconsider this decision, but having depth on the defensive line right now is taking precedent. However, I am not sure what we have in Bailey and McClain and if, for example, UCFA DT Miles Brown is in the same ball park, talent-wise, then the Cardinals can release Bailey or McClain and stash Brown on the PS and that would open a spot for Vallejo.

Special Teams:

ST (3): 4—-Lee; 5—-Gonzalez; 46—-Brewer

Total: 53