The Cardinals have currently 89 roster spots filled on their 90 man roster and will cut down to 53 in a few weeks.
Naturally that means that the competition is on and this week’s game against the Oakland Raiders can go a long way toward securing a spot on the roster.
But first that player will have to beat another one out. Here are the top positional groups to watch:
#1. The Wide Receivers...all of them after the Fitz & Kirk
A. Byrd vs. Cooper vs...Kevin White?
Obviously, the receivers take the top spot here in the battle to watch, particularly after last week Trent Sherfield was impressive. He’ll continue to look to make an impact on the roster but seems to be more of a lock given his special teams ability.
There’s likely 7 wide receivers making AZ’s roster this year, so that #7 spot will likely come down to one of these three. Byrd has been the more impressive receiver so far and can play special teams as a returner, but Cooper is a former pro-bowler AS a returner.
The better question may be...does Kevin White even have a shot anymore?
B. Sherfield vs. Isabella vs. KeeSean
With Sherfield impressing, the question of who will be the Cardinals’ #3 and #4 wide receivers will be fascinating as Hakeem Butler seems to be a ways off.
It might be that Johnson’s in as the #3, but he’ll have to hold off Sherfield impressing for that. Now that he’s free from the foot injury that plagued him, can Andy Isabella make an impact on the field, and stay on it as well?
#2. Defensive End: Zach Allen vs. Sterling Bailey vs. Michael Dogbe vs. Pasoni Tasini
With DE Darius Philon no longer with the team and a potential visit from defensive tackle Corey Liuget being more of an interior guy, the Cardinals have nothing but youth and inexperience on the defensive line now.
Zach Allen likely gets starting reps now but Michael Dogbe also had a solid week last week against the Chargers and Bailey & Tasini have more experience than the rookies. Arizona’s got to know what they have in their defensive ends.
Cause if the run defense looks just as bad as it did last year, some fans will start to panic, prematurely or not.
#3. Outside Linebacker: Pete Robertson vs. Brooks Reed vs. Jeff Holland vs. Andre Branch
How about this for some “youth versus experience” at outside linebacker? With Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs manning this corp, the impressive Robertson’s gotten a shot with Reed out due to injury.
But Andre Branch had a sack last week and the team added Holland, who has experience in Vance Joseph’s defense.
#4. Running Back: Wes Hills vs. D.J. Foster vs. Dontae Strickland
Three spots at running back seem set with David Johnson, Chase Edmonds and T.J. Logan. But it’s likely that Arizona will keep a 4th running back, and that’s where it gets tricky.
Strickland has gotten a number of carries but it will really come down to the bruising, slippery Wes Hills at his 220 lb. size against a more natural RB/WR type in D.J. Foster who’s coming off of an injury.
Hills had a good week last week and scored a touchdown, meaning the pressure is on for Foster heading to today’s game.
#5. The OL Backup Tackles: Korey Cunningham vs. Rees Odhiambo...vs. ?
If Humphries or Gilbert goes down the Cards are in trouble.
Both tackles struggled last week giving up sacks and multiple penalties, against second and third teamers, no less.
If those struggles continue hard to wonder if the two will not be in battle with one another but with another incoming addition to the roster to man the swing tackle position.
What will you be watching tonight after Kyler?
Sound off in the comments section!