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NFC West Poker Chip Assessments for Defensive Starters —- Will Cards Raise the Ante?

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Background: May 23, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during mini-camp at Arizona Cardinals training facility. Nfl Cardinals Mini Camp

NFC West Starters in the Nickel Defense:

LDE

  • ARI —- Zach Allen —- RED
  • LAR —- Leonard Floyd —- RED
  • SF —- Samson Ebukam —- RED
  • SEA —- Darrell Taylor —- RED

LDT

  • ARI —- Rashard Lawrence —- RED
  • LAR —- Aaron Donald —- BLUE
  • SF —- Arik Armstead —- RED
  • SEA —-Shelby Harris —- RED

RDT

  • ARI —- J.J. Watt —- BLUE
  • LAR —- Greg Gaines —- RED
  • SF —- Javon Kinlaw —- WHITE
  • SEA —-Poonah Ford —- RED

RDE

  • ARI —- Markus Golden —- RED
  • LAR —-Justin Hollins —- WHITE
  • SF —- Nick Bosa —- BLUE
  • SEA —-Uchenna Nwosu —- RED

MLB

  • ARI —- Zaven Collins —- WHITE
  • LAR —- Bobby Wagner —- BLUE
  • SF —- Fred Warner —- BLUE
  • SEA —- Cody Barton —- WHITE

NLB

  • ARI —-Isaiah Simmons —- RED
  • LAR —-Ernest Young —- RED
  • SF —-Dre Greenlaw —- RED
  • SEA —-Jordyn Brooks —- RED

LCB

  • ARI —- Jeff Gladney —- WHITE
  • LAR —- Jalen Ramsey —- BLUE
  • SF —- Jason Verrett —- RED
  • SEA —- Sidney Jones —- RED

SS

  • ARI —- Jalen Thompson —- RED
  • LAR —- Jordan Fuller —- RED
  • SF —- George Odum —- RED
  • SEA —- Jamal Adams —- RED

FS

  • ARI —- Budda Baker —- BLUE
  • LAR —-Nick Scott —- RED
  • SF —- Jimmy Ward —- RED
  • SEA —- Quandre Diggs —- RED

RCB

  • ARI —- Marco Wilson —- WHITE
  • LAR —- David Long Jr. —- RED
  • SF —- Charvarius Ward —- RED
  • SEA —- Tre Brown —- RED

NCB

  • ARI —- Byron Murphy —- RED
  • LAR —- Troy Hill —- RED
  • SF —- Emmanuel Mosely —- RED
  • SEA —- Justin Coleman —- RED

Total Points:

  • ARI —- 21
  • LAR —- 23
  • SF —- 24
  • SEA —-20

Mike Clay’s Defensive Unit Grades:

DI

  • ARI —-2.4
  • LAR —- 3.9
  • SF —- 3.3
  • SEA —- 2.5

ED

  • ARI —- 1.3
  • LAR —- 1.1
  • SF —- 3.4
  • SEA —- 0.4

LB

  • ARI —- 3.0
  • LAR —- 3.3
  • SF —- 4.0
  • SEA —- 0.4

CB

  • ARI —- 0.1
  • LAR —- 2.4
  • SF —- 1.8
  • SEA —- 0.4

S

  • ARI —- 2.0
  • LAR —- 1.1
  • SF —- 1.3
  • SEA —- 3.0

Defensive NFL Rankings

  • ARI —- 0.7 —- 26th
  • LAR —- 1.0 —- 15th
  • SF —- 1.1 —- 4th
  • SEA —- 0.5 —- 28th

Commentary

What stands out amongst Mike Clay’s unit rankings is how high he is on the Cardinals’ linebackers and how low he is on the Cardinals’ CBs. Clay must like the athletic potential of Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons. As for the the CBs, Marco Wilson and Jeff Gladney are both unproven heading into their second seasons in the NFL, and Byron Murphy was unable to sustain his high level of play in 2021.

What’s fascinating is how much Quentin Harris (Executive Direct of College Scouting) raved about the Cardinals’ young secondary when he was on the Dave Pasch Podcast. Then, Budda Baker said yesterday: “Personally I feel like it’s the best (defensive back room) that I’ve had in my career. We’re all kind of young, we all have the same kind of personalities and we’re all friends. We’ve got some guys that you’ll be excited to see.”

A couple of weeks ago, Mike Clay had the Cardinals’ safeties graded at 1.5. I tweeted Mike to ask why his grade was so low. While he did not respond to the tweet, he recently raised his grade to a 2.0 (which I think is still too low, but at least it’s an improvement).

The participation thus far in OTAs by the Cardinals’ defensive players, led by J.J. Watt, has been outstanding:

That is what true leadership looks like.

This is what true leadership sounds like:

When asked why he opted to participate in the Cardinals’ OTAs, Budda Baker cited these reasons:

  • “I’m a camaraderie guy, understanding people’s personalities, what they like to do on the field, of course, exchange numbers, talk a little football and all that type of stuff.
  • And that’s (showing up) what I just personally like to do, just because growing up, that’s just how it was, that’s what you just had to do.
  • Now that I’m one of the leaders on the team, I definitely want to do that, because it just helps the younger guys kind of get a head start before training camp and all that stuff starts.”

“Hope is a good thing, Red.”