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4th Year Cardinals

NFL: Pro Bowl-NFC at AFC Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Background: Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; NFC quarterback Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals (1) looks to throw during the Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie

Today let’s take a look at the Cardinals’ draftees who are heading into their 4th seasons to see what their ultimate goals should be this year. Then, let’s take a look at other 4th year players around the NFL who might become available via trades or waivers.

4th Year Cardinals on a Mission:

  • QB Kyler Murray (82.9, highest PFF grade among offensive starters) —- Kyler wants the security of a lucrative contract extension before the season begins. Mission: to sustain his high level of play throughout the entirety of the 17 game season, while providing the team with reliable leadership.
  • CB Byron Murphy (58.5, 8th highest PFF grade among defensive starters) —- the question about Byron Murphy has been whether he is best suited to play outside CB or the nickel. Mission: to carve a stronger niche in the defense and, like Kyler, sustain his early levels of success throughout the 17 game season.
  • WR Andy Isabella (57.0) —- has been the subject of trade speculation after finding himself deep in the WR depth chart. Mission: to shine in training camp and in the pre-season games in order to either increase his playing time this season or to increase his trade value.
  • DE Zach Allen (56.7, 9th highest PFF grade among defensive starters) —- his playmaking tends to improve as the season rolls along. Mission: to flash right out of the gates early and build on his momentum either to make his case as a CORE players who deserves a good, multi-year second contract or to increase his market value as a 2023 UFA.
  • S Jalen Thompson (68.5, 3rd highest PFF grade among defensive starters) —- came on like gangbusters last season as an intimidating playmaker. Mission: to build on the momentum of his best season as a pro and to keep emerging as a CORE leader of the defense.
  • S Deionte Thompson (69.0) —- has steadily improved as a back end safety in sub packages. Mission: to prove that he has the ability to be a starting FS in the NFL.
  • T Joshua Miles (61.9) —- has played solid football the couple of times he’s been called upon. Mission: to prove that he has starter and swing tackle potential.
  • DE Michael Dogbe (50.7) —- has flashed at times as a quick, penetrating sure-tackler with very limited game reps. Mission: to become a mainstay in the Cardinals’ defensive line rotation as a run-stuffer and pass rusher.

What are your thoughts about these 4th year Cardinals?

Other 4th Year Cardinals:

  • QB Trace McSorely
  • CB Breon Borders
  • DE Matt Dickerson
  • G Danny Isadora
  • RB Jaylen Samuels
  • TE Deon Yelder

Do you envision any of these players making the team’s roster?

At this point, these 4th year players are long-shots to make the Cardinals’ 53 man roster, but could make their individual cases to make the team’s practice squad. The one player here who perhaps has the best chance to make the roster is CB Breon Borders, who continues to learn Vance Joseph’s system.

4th Year Players Who Could Be of Trade or Waiver Wire Interest to Cardinals:

  • DE Clelin Farrell, LV (45.9 —- 19 pressures and 3 sacks in 2021)
  • WR N’Keal Harry, NE (68.7 —-12 catches for 184 yards (15.3 ave.), 0 TDs in 2021)
  • CB Travon Mullen, LV (61.7, 17 tackles, 15/22, 215 yds., 1 TD, 1 int., 2 PBUs, 5 penalties in 2021)
  • DT Dre’Mont Jones, DEN (57.8, 40 QB pressures, 5 sacks in 2021)
  • OLB Oshane Ximines, NYG (61.8, 7 QB pressures, 0 sacks, 9 tackles, 75.5 coverage grade in 2021)
  • DE Austin Bryant, DET (54.5, 14 QB pressures, 5 sacks, 19 tackles in 2021)
  • CB Amani Oruwarive, DET (59.0, 51 tackles, 41/69, 582 yards, 2 TD, 6 interceptions. in 2021).

Do any of these players capture your interest?

I am intrigued with the upsides of Clelin Farrell, Travon Mullen, Dre’Mont Jones, Austin Bryant and Amani Oruwarive.

Fascinating Situation:

I think that many of us Cardinals’ fans who studied the 2018 Oklahoma Sooners tapes with Kyler Murray at QB would agree that Kyler’s offensive line was about as strong and cohesive as any college offensive line to come down the pick in years.

It is no secret that Kyler absolutely cherished his linemen at OU, not only as players, but as close friends.

Interestingly, 4 of Kyler’s 5 starters on his Oklahoma offensive line are scheduled to become UFAs in 2023. Yet, to date, only one of them (Ben Powers) has gotten off to a good start in the their NFL careers, which could be the result of the OL situations and new offensive systems they came into and the notion that sometimes great offensive lines are the result of outstanding chemistry and coordination, i.e., the total sum of their parts.

  • LT Bobby Evans, LAR, backup (48.4 in 2021) —- 2019 3rd Round pick LAR
  • LG Ben Powers, BAL, fill-in starter, 844 snaps, (66.3 in 2021) —- 2019 4th Round pick BAL
  • C Creed Humphrey, KC, rookie starter (91.8 in 2021) —- 2021 2nd Round pick KC
  • RG Dru Samia, NYJ, backup (33.1 in 2020 MIN for 272 snaps) —- 2019 4th Round pick MIN
  • RT Cody Ford, BUF, starter/backup, at G 488 snaps (46.5 in 2021) —- 2019 2nd Round pick BUF

This year, Bobby Evans (LAR), Dru Samia (NYJ) and Cody Ford (BUF) are on their respective roster bubbles. Ben Powers is currently listed as the backup LG behind Tyre Phillips for the Ravens.

One has to wonder how many of Kyler’s Sooner brodies would be on his wish list if and when they were to become available. Interesting too that only one (C Rodney Hudson) of the Cardinals’ projected starters on the offensive line this season is under contract for 2023, Now that WR Marquis Brown is with Kyler and the Cardinals, could there be a wagon-train of Sooners headed to Arizona sometime soon?

What do you think about that?