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NFC West Poker Chip Assessments for Offensive Starters —- Will Cards Ante Up?

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

Background: Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) celebrates his touchdown scored against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas

With a couple of months to go before training camp, this is what the 2022 NFC starting lineups look like on paper in terms of poker chips (in my opinion).

  • Blue Chip = Bell Cow
  • Red Chip = Productive Starter
  • White Chip = Unproven Performer

QB:

  • ARI —- Kyler Murray —- RED
  • LAR —- Matthew Stafford —- BLUE
  • SF —- Jimmy Garoppolo —- RED
  • SEA —- Geno Smith —- WHITE

RB:

  • ARI —-James Conner —- BLUE
  • LAR —- Cam Akers —- RED
  • SF —- Elijah Mitchell —- RED
  • SEA —- Rahsaad Penny —- RED

WR1:

  • ARI —- Marquise Brown —- RED
  • LAR —- Cooper Kupp —- BLUE
  • SF —- Deebo Samuel —- BLUE
  • SEA —- Tyler Lockett —- BLUE

WR2

  • ARI —- A.J. Green —- RED
  • LAR —- Allen Robinson —- RED
  • SF —- Brandon Aiyuk —- RED
  • SEA —- D.K. Metcalf —- BLUE

LT

  • ARI —- D.J. Humphries —- RED
  • LAR —- Joe Noteboom —- WHITE
  • SF —- Trent Williams —- BLUE
  • SEA —- Charles Cross* —- WHITE

LG

  • ARI —- Justin Pugh —- RED
  • LAR —- David Edwards —- RED
  • SF —- Aaron Banks —- WHITE
  • SEA —- Damien Lewis —- WHITE

C

  • ARI —-Rodney Hudson —- RED
  • LAR —- Brian Allen —- RED
  • SF —- Alex Mack —- RED
  • SEA —- Austin Blyth —- WHITE

RG

  • ARI —- Will Hernandez —- WHITE
  • LAR —- Logan Bruss* —- WHITE
  • SF —- David Brunskill —- WHITE
  • SEA —- Gabe Jackson —- RED

RT

  • ARI —- Kelvin Beachum —- RED
  • LAR —- Rob Havenstein —- RED
  • SF —- Mike McGlinchey —- RED
  • SEA —-Jake Curhan —- WHITE

TE

  • ARI —- Zach Ertz —- RED
  • LAR —- Tyler Higbee —- RED
  • SF —- George Kittle —- BLUE
  • SEA —-Noah Fant —- RED

Starting Offense Total Points: (BLUE = 3 points; RED = 2 points; WHITE = 1 point)

  • ARI —- 20
  • LAR —- 21
  • SF —- 21
  • SEA —-17

Offensive Talent/Depth By Position Grade (per ESPN’s Mike Clay)

QB

  • ARI —- 2.9
  • LAR —-3.5
  • SF —-1.5
  • SEA —-0,1

RB

  • ARI —- 1.3
  • LAR —-1.8
  • SF —-0.8
  • SEA —-1.0

WR

  • ARI —- 3.8
  • LAR —-3.1
  • SF —-2.1
  • SEA —-3.3

OL

  • ARI —-1.5
  • LAR —-1.6
  • SF —-2.8
  • SEA —-0.1

TE

  • ARI —- 3.4
  • LAR —-2.5
  • SF —- 3.8
  • SEA —-3.1

Offensive Talent/Depth Rankings

  • ARI —-1.6 —- 9th in NFL
  • LAR —-1.7 —- 8th in NFL
  • SF —-1.5 —- 12th in NFL
  • SEA —-0.6 —- 28th in NFL

Commentary:

On paper, the Cardinals have the talent and sufficient depth to be a top 10 offense in 2022. If this group becomes galvanized, it could emerge this season as the top offense in the NFC West.

In terms of national perception, because of the manner in which the Cardinals’ season ended and the poor PR hits that the organization, DeAndre Hopkins and Kyler Murray have incurred during the off-season, one would be hard-pressed to find any prognosticator who is willing to rank the Cardinals among their top 10 offenses —- save for Mike Clay and his position unit analytics.

It would certainly help the Cardinals’ chances and their national image if they manifest a full attendance for on-the-field OTAs this week, starting today. Yes, these OTAs are voluntary, but they are a golden opportunity for teams to start the team building chemistry and synchronization.

The question is —- do you believe the Cards have enough chips and proper sense of commitment to ante up in 2022?