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2020 NFL Roster Breakdown: Arizona Cardinals


Roster Changes

 

Key additions

WR DeAndre Hopkins, DL Jordan Phillips, OLB Devon Kennard, ILB De’Vondre Campbell

 

Key losses

RB David Johnson, WR Damiere Byrd, WR Pharoh Cooper, TE Charles Clay, OT Jordan Mills, C A.Q. Shipley, DL Rodney Gunter, DL Zach Kerr, OLB Brooks Reed, OLB Cassius Marsh, ILB Joe Walker, CB Brandon Williams

 

2020 draft class

ILB Isaiah Simmons (1.08), OT Josh Jones (3.72), DL Leki Fotu (4.114), DL Rashard Lawrence (4.131), ILB Evan Weaver (6.202), RB Eno Benjamin (7.222)

 

Projected Starters

 

Offense

QB: Kyler Murray
RB: Kenyan Drake
WR: DeAndre Hopkins
WR: Larry Fitzgerald
WR: Christian Kirk
TE: Maxx Williams
LT: D.J. Humphries
LG: Justin Pugh
C: Mason Cole
RG: J.R. Sweezy
RT: Josh Jones

 

Defense

DL: Jordan Phillips
DL: Corey Peters
OLB: Chandler Jones
ILB: Jordan Hicks
ILB: Isaiah Simmons
OLB: Devon Kennard
CB: Patrick Peterson
CB: Byron Murphy
CB: Robert Alford
S: Budda Baker
S: Jalen Thompson

 

Team Outlook

 

Biggest strength: Linebacker

Wide receiver needs to be mentioned after the Cardinals acquired DeAndre Hopkins, but linebacker is quietly loaded with a starting group of Chandler Jones, Jordan Hicks, Isaiah Simmons, and Devon Kennard, so I actually think that might be their biggest strength. A new-high of 19.0 sacks for Jones last year has him nearing triple-digits in his career (currently 96.0), and he will get a boost from not only Kennard signing as a free agent, but also the all-around skillset of Simmons.

 

Biggest weakness: Secondary depth

Patrick Peterson and Budda Baker are both standout defenders, but behind them, Arizona has mostly question marks in the secondary. Although Byron Murphy started every game as a rookie, he needs to improve in Year 2, and veteran Robert Alford—who missed last season with a broken leg—will turn 32 in November. At safety, Jalen Thompson is another player with starting experience, so we’ll see if the Cardinals sticking with continuity helps them make strides on the backend this fall.

 

Position battle to watch: Tight end

Tight end isn’t exactly a priority in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, but the position was used more than I thought it would be in 2019, and Maxx Williams and/or Dan Arnold may be able to earn a decent role this season—particularly if the young receivers don’t step up behind Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, and Christian Kirk. Williams is the better blocker of the two, but Arnold had a 4/76/1 line in last year’s finale and brings some exciting athleticism to the offense at six-foot-six. Playing time could come down to how much the offense is opened up.

 

One more thought

Kenyan Drake is locked in as the starter at running back, but if he struggles some as the clear feature back—which is a first for him entering the year—the Cardinals have a couple of very capable options with Chase Edmonds and Eno Benjamin filling out the depth chart. When given a feature role in one game last season, Edmonds had 150 yards and three scores, while Benjamin is a very determined runner with a compact build that can catch passes out of the backfield.

 

Early over/under: 7.5 wins (via FOX Bet)

Under. The Cardinals have a chance to get off to a hot start with a favorably early-season schedule, but holes on the offensive line and in the secondary could have them a year away from competing in the NFC West. Kyler Murray may need to emerge as an MVP candidate to accelerate the team’s jump into contention.

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GMFB Fan
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GMFB Fan

Agree MVP season needed for Murray.

AZ boy
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AZ boy

Fair assessment. I’m excited for this season BUT I WILL NOT be watching if our quarterback kneels for the national anthem.

Bruce
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Bruce

If everyone kneels ratings will certainly tank, maybe for good.

Fred A.
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Fred A.

Under the radar team

Brian
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Brian

Kliff gonna come out with a A+ offense

SPORTS NET
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SPORTS NET

SUB 500 COLLEGE COACH

Adam
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Adam

Playoffs

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