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In case you missed it from yesterday’s article , here is the Cardinals current “two deep” roster:

Offense (24 players):

QB: Kyler Murray (22); Brett Hundley (26)

RB: Kenyan Drake (26); Chase Edmonds (23)

TE: Maxx Williams (25); Dan Arnold (25)

WR: Larry Fitzgerald (36); Hakeem Butler (23)

WR: DeAndre Hopkins (27); KeeSean Johnson (23)

WR: Christian Kirk (23); Andy Isabella (23)

LT: D.J. Humphries (26); Joshua Miles (24)

LG: Justin Pugh (29); Max Garcia (28)

C: Mason Cole (23); Lamont Gaillard (24)

RG: J.R. Sweezy (30); Sam Jones (24)

RT: Justin Murray (26); Brett Toth (23)

WC: Chris Streveler (25); Trent Sherfield (24)

Defense (22 players):

SAM OLB: Devon Kennard (28); Haason Reddick (25)

LDE: Zach Allen (22); Jonathan Bullard (26)

NT: Corey Peters (31); Miles Brown (22)

RDE: Jordan Phillips (27); Michael Dogbe (23)

JACK OLB: Chandler Jones (30); Kylie Fitts (25)

MIKE ILB: Jordan Hicks (27): Dennis Gardeck (25)

WILL ILB: De’Vondre Campbell (26); Tanner Vallejo (25)

LCB: Patrick Peterson (29); Byron Murphy (22)

SS: Jalen Thomson (21); Charles Washington (27)

FS: Budda Baker (24); Deionte Thompson (23)

RCB: Robert Alford (31); Chris Jones (24)

Special Teams (6 players):

K Zane Gonzalez (24)

P Andy Lee (37); Ryan Winslow (25)

LS: Aaron Brewer (29)

ST: Zeke Turner (23); Chris Banjo (30)

Analysis:

Steve Keim has been doing a diligent job of adding key players at positions of need, while trying to maintain as much continuity as possible (re-signing 10 of the Cardinals’ own free agents!) in all three phases of the team, offense, defense and special teams.
The main reason why Keim’s efforts have been praiseworthy is that no one as yet knows when teams will be able to hold mini-camps—-if at all before the middle of July—-and thus maintaining as much continuity as possible should allow the Cardinals to hit the round running as best they can in training camp.
In all likelihood, this year’s rookies are going to have a difficult time of competing for starting jobs or key roles early on in the season because of the uncertain timetables as to when teams can hold OTAs and minicamps. Thus—-when you look at what Keim has done—-he has assembled bona fide starters and solid, young depth at every position so that the Cardinals will not be forced to rush in a rookie too quickly.
There has been a recent proposal from the GM Committee to postpone the NFL Draft (due to greater restrictions for urban teams and the inability to conduct necessary physicals and meetings for draft prospects with question marks, etc.), although it appears that the NFL would prefer to keep the draft as scheduled.
The way the Cardinals’ current roster is constructed, it appears that the positions the Cardinals could be targeting the most in the draft are: T, RB, OLB, ILB, S, DT (if they are unable to re-sign Zach Kerr or another UFA DT) and TE (if they are unable to re-sign Charles Clay)—-with reasons being the potential practice squad bubble players on the current two-deep: T Brett Toth, RB (no 3rd RB on roster and Kenyan Drake is on a 1 year deal), OLB Kylie Fitts, ILB Tanner Vallejo (De’Vondre Campbell is on a one year deal), S (Charles Washington and Chris Banjo are used primarily as ST aces).
My hunch is that Steve Keim would prefer to move down from #8 in order to add an extra pick or two. Seth Cox and I were discussing this last evening and it would not be surprising if the Cardinals traded down even into the teens or 20s (depending on the added draft pick haul) if they have comparably high grades on Ts Ezra Cleveland (Boise St.), Josh Jones (Houston) or Austin Jackson (USC)—-or—-if they think they can still draft one of those tackles in Round 2, if they pick up a 2nd rounder in the trade—-they could decided to take one of these following players:
WR John Jefferson (LSU)—-Jerry Sullivan’s favorite WR in the draft

RB K.J Dobbins (Ohio St.)—-the top bell cow RB in this class

DT Ross Blacklock (TCU), Neville Gallimore (Oklahoma)—-crackerjack defensive lineman the Cardinals have expressed interest in.

S Xavier McKinney (Alabama)—-stud, multi-talented defender

ILB Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma) or Patrick Queen (LSU)—-other star defenders the Cardinals have interviewed.

CB Trevon Diggs (Alabama), C.J. Henderson (Florida) or Kristian Fulton (LSU)—-all fit Vance Jospeh’s press CB mold..

The thing about all of these players mentioned above—-all of them should be off the board by the time the Cardinals pick at #72.

Thus, if the Cardinals have one or two of these players rated in their top 10, they can trade down to take him and add a Day 2 pick, plus maybe a Day 3 pick as well.

So, for the sake of discussion, let’s say the Cardinals trade the #8 pick to the Dolphins for their #18 (1st Round), #39 (2nd Round) and #153 (5th Round) picks, here is a mock of what they could accomplish:

  1. Ezra Cleveland, T, Boise St. Has similar size, athleticism and feet to Eagles’ standout RT Lane Johnson. Can play both LT and RT.
  2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU. With Kyler Murray, he forms nearly impossible tandem and 1-2 punch for LBers, at times, to see and pick up. Joe Burrow said Clyde was the toughest and most favorite teammate on the Tigers.
  3. Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois. The length, quickness and speed to blanket TEs, as he did at the Senior Bowl.
  4. James Lynch, 34DE, Baylor. 24/7 motor who manifests tremendous determination to tackle RBs and get to the QB.
  5. Kevin Dotson, G, Louisiana Tech. #1 grade (92.1) at G in 2019, per PFF.
  6. Evan Weaver, ILB, California. Tackling magnet whom the Cardinals have shown extensive interest in..
  7. Derrek Tuszka, OLB/DE, North Dakota St. Tenacious edge rusher. The defensive MVP of the Missouri Valley Conference (1st Team All-American), Tuszka’s 48 tackles and 13 1⁄2 sacks helped lead the Bison to another national championship.
  8. J.J. Taylor, RB, Arizona. Super quick and elusive, albeit under-sized.

What do you think of this draft as it would compare to taking T Jedrick Wills or T Tristan Wirfs at #8 and taking Cleveland, Edwards-Helaire and Weaver out of the equation?

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The Cardinals’ injured reserve list grew Wednesday by two, when inside linebacker Tanner Vallejo (ribs) and cornerback Kevin Peterson (shoulder) landed there to end their season.

It kick-started a handful of roster moves for the Cards, which promoted outside linebacker Vontarrius Dora from the practice squad and signed two players away from other practice squads: cornerback Andre Chachere from Carolina and linebacker Keishawn Bierria from Jacksonville.

The Cardinals had three open roster spots, after releasing linebacker Terrell Suggs on Friday.

The loss of Peterson means Chris Jones is likely to get the bulk of the work as the No. 2 cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson, with Byron Murphy having moved back into a role as slot cornerback. Chachere is familiar with the defense, having spent time on the Cardinals’ practice squad earlier this season.

With the loss of Vallejo, Dennis Gardeck — who was named as a special teams Pro Bowl alternate — figures to be the top reserve at inside linebacker behind Jordan Hicks and Joe Walker.

The Cardinals also signed cornerback Duke Thomas and linebacker Jamey Mosley to the practice squad.

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The talented veteran could team with Patrick Peterson to give the Arizona Cardinals one of the NFL’s best cornerback tandems
The 2019 campaign was far from favorable for the Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks. Patrick Peterson’s suspension, combined with Robert Alford‘s leg injury, had an adverse effect on the club’s defensive unit. Both players sit atop the Cards depth chart at the moment, but there’s a recently-released cover guy who would be a fantastic addition to the squad’s secondary.

Xavier Rhodes, who has spent the last seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, was sent packing by the organization this past Friday. The 29-year old was scheduled to make $9.9 million this coming fall, a figure that was apparently a bit too rich for Minnesota. By getting out of the contract, the cap-strapped Vikings have gained $7.5 million in salary cap space.

Rhodes registered 63 tackles and six passes defensed in 15 starts last year. The veteran’s performance in 2019 earned him a Pro Bowl invitation, the third of his NFL career. The 6’1, 218 pound Rhodes is big and physical, and is exactly the type of corner that Arizona has been a longtime proponent of.

The former Florida State University product has appeared in 104 contests, and has 97 starts on his professional resume. Rhodes has racked up 372 tackles, 10 interceptions and an impressive 73 pass breakups during his days with Minnesota.

The Cardinals have seven cornerbacks on the roster at the present time. Along with Peterson and Alford, the team also has Byron Murphy, Chris Jones, Jalen Davis, Sojourn Shelton and Andre Chachere under contract.

NEXT: Cardinals offense will regress without Drake
It’s not yet known what kind of cash the Cards would have to offer to get Rhodes to sign on the dotted line. Moving on from Alford, who has yet to play a down for the franchise, would leave just $3 million in dead salary cap money. Having a starting cornerback tandem that features both Peterson and Rhodes is an intriguing scenario that general manager Steve Keim would be wise to consider.

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The Arizona Cardinals re-signed 12 players from the 2019 season. One was safety Chris Banjo, who was signed early in the season and became a core special teams player.

The details for his contract are in. His base salary is $1.05 million. According to Over the Cap, he received a signing bonus of $137,500 and has $162,500 of his salary fully guaranteed. In all, he is guaranteed $300,000 this season, even if he does not make the team.

However, his cap hit will be lower than the nearly $1.19 million he will make this season. Because of how the contract is structured, his contract qualifies for the veteran salary benefit against the cap. The Cardinals get $300,000 in cap relief. Banjo’s contract will count only $887,500 against the salary cap in 2020.

Custom Robert Alford Jersey Large

Three members of the Arizona Cardinals who missed all of last season with injuries will need to get back on track in 2020
The Arizona Cardinals, led by new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, made outstanding progress in 2019. Several new acquisitions by the club’s front office contributed heavily to the optimism that’s surrounding the Cards. There were a trio of pickups from last offseason, however, who suffered injuries that cost them the entire season.

Cornerback Robert Alford, right tackle Marcus Gilbert and wide receiver Hakeem Butler all failed to make it to Arizona’s opening game. All three are on the road to recovery, and are expected to be back with the squad this coming fall. To say that these particular players have something to prove would be putting it lightly.

Alford was brought in to solve the Cardinals long-standing dilemma at the number-two cornerback spot. Unfortunately, a broken tibia that he suffered in August ruined that plan. Alford still has two campaigns left on the three-year, $22.5 million contract he agreed to with the Cards in February of ’19.

Another one of Arizona’s additions from a year ago also got hurt before the regular-season began. Marcus Gilbert, acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, tore an ACL just days before the Cardinals first game. General manager Steve Keim had given up a sixth-round draft pick for the starting right tackle, but got nothing in return for his investment.

A Cards rookie also missed all 16 contests after he was sidelined following a preseason matchup. Hakeem Butler, a sixth-round selection out of Iowa State, ended up on the injured-reserve list with a broken hand. The 6’5, 227 pounder was the second of three wideouts chosen by Keim during last year’s NFL Draft.

NEXT: Cardinals have first round options
Arizona is counting on all three to bounce back from their disappointing setbacks. Alford and Gilbert could assume starting roles, while Butler will get to show what he can do for Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offensive attack. Getting production out of the trio will certainly help the Cardinals to experience success in 2020.

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Let’s take a look at the Arizona Cardinals’ roster position by position as we near the NFL free agency period that can lead to signing beginning on Wednesday, March 18, at 1 p.m.

Here’s a look at the Cardinals’ linebacker positions, where wildly productive starters, both inside and out, need sidekicks.

The basics
Players under contract: OLB Chandler Jones, ILB Jordan Hicks, OLB Haason Reddick, ILB Tanner Vallejo, ILB Dennis Gardeck, ILB Ezekiel Turner, ILB Keishawn Bierria, OLB Vontarrius Dora

Free agents: OLB Cassius Marsh, OLB Brooks Reed, ILB Joe Walker (exclusive rights restricted)

What we know
When you thought Chandler Jones might creep toward more realistic feats in 2019, the outside linebacker playing in his third defensive system in three years put together his best season yet. He recorded 19 sacks and added 53 total tackles with five passes defensed and eight forced fumbles. He did so with a step-slow Terrell Suggs, late offseason pickup Cassius Marsh and inside linebacker convert Haason Reddick combining for 9.0 sacks from the opposite outside edge rusher spot.

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Linebacker Jordan Hicks can say similar things about trying to carry all the weight possible. He was third in the NFL with 149 tackles during his first year in Arizona.

Perhaps the only criticism either of the two received all year long was directed toward Hicks — and that came from head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who said Hicks over-communicated while taking on too many responsibilities trying to keep a struggling defense afloat.

At inside linebacker, Joe Walker was steady to end the year but ideally would be the No. 3 guy, and fellow ILBs Tanner Vallejo, Dennis Gardeck and Zeke Turner have a lot to prove if they are anything more than depth options.

The bottom line is that Jones and Hicks could use some sidekicks at outside and inside backer.

Big question: Can Reddick salvage his career at OLB?
With free agency funds already running dry after a feverish start to the free agency negotiating period, the Cardinals will have to find value, especially with the hope they can fill in depth once they get the starters locked up.

Reddick, Arizona’s first-round pick in 2017, is the wild card in all this at linebacker.

Last year, he got hurt in training camp and started off the season limited. But from Weeks 3-6, he played 100% of the defensive snaps at inside linebacker alongside Hicks.

The Cardinals struggled covering tight ends more than any other team in 2019. It wasn’t all on Reddick of course, but while his athleticism flashed at ILB, it became clear that he was behind learning the position under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

A switch to the outside spot gave him the ability to tap into his natural pass-rushing instincts, but he earned snaps behind Marsh once Suggs was released midseason.

At 235 pounds, will Reddick go into 2020 set on adding bulk to win the other outside linebacker starting job?

Reddick enters the final year of his rookie deal still one of the best athletes on the team but without a set-in-stone NFL position. That could dictate how much the Cardinals improve on defense as much as what Arizona does to shore up tight end pass defense — an available and healthy secondary should help any ILB who starts alongside Hicks.

It’s hard to see at the moment how the Cardinals will shell out for either a premier pass-rusher or modern three-down inside linebacker this summer; both positions garner big money.

At ILB, Cory Littleton, Joe Schobert, Nick Vigil, Tahir Whitehead and Blake Martinez are among the biggest names on the market. Outside, Jadeveon Clowney, Dante Fowler and former Cardinals Markus Golden are among those hitting free agency.

The good news is that there are a lot of talented free agents at edge, especially. Maybe waiting things until the market dries up could help the Cardinals find an acceptable contract with a talented player. But Reddick being a capable starter sure would be a pleasant surprise, both for his career’s trajectory and the Cardinals’ bank account.

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The Arizona Cardinals are losing one of their defensive starters in free agency. The latest is linebacker Joe Walker is staying the the division and, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, is headed to the San Francisco 49ers on a one-year contract.

Tom Pelissero

@TomPelissero
The #49ers are signing LB Joe Walker to a one-year deal, source said. Walker took a first-round pick’s job last year, started 11 games and had 65 tackles for the #Cardinals. Now, he stays in the NFC West.

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2:31 AM – Mar 24, 2020
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Walker will likely be a backup and special teams player there.

That is what he probably should have been for the Cardinals in 2019 but he played himself into the defensive rotation.

He played in all 16 games, starting 11. He had 65 tackles and a forced fumble.

As Haason Reddick struggled, Walker impressed coaches in practice. He first went from being a backup to playing in base defensive packages. Later in the season he completely replaced Reddick at inside linebacker and Reddick moved outside.

Walker filled in a void and was productive but his position needed to be upgraded. With the addition of De’Vondre Campbell in free agency, Walker now moves on to the 49ers.

The Cardinals still have Dennis Gardeck, Keiswhan Bierria and Zeke Turner as backup linebackers.

Walker is the fourth Cardinals free agent to head elsewhere. Receivers Damiere Byrd and Pharoh Cooper signed one-year deals with the Patriots and Panthers. Defensive lineman Rodney Gunter got a three-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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When the Arizona Cardinals announced they agreed to terms with linebacker Devon Kennard, they brought home another hometown player. Kennard not only played high school ball in Phoenix, he also brings a Cardinals legacy in his family.

His father played for the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals from 1986-1990.

According to Mark Dalton, who is the head of media relations for the team, this will be the third time in team history in which a father and son both played for the Cardinals.

The other two father-son duos are Kevin Butler and Drew Butler, and Terry and Eric Metcalf.

Let’s find out more about the other father-son combos.

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The Arizona Cardinals have signed former Atlanta Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the deal is worth up to $8.5 million.

The signing comes a day after the Cardinals added former Detroit Lions linebacker Devon Kennard on a three-year contract, Schefter reported.

Campbell, who turns 27 in July, led the Falcons in tackles last season with 129 to go with 2 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. He developed a chemistry with fellow linebacker Deion Jones and emerged as a vocal leader in the locker room.

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Source: Cards to sign LB Kennard to 3-year deal

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The Falcons selected Campbell in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of Minnesota, and he developed his game in Atlanta under the tutelage of linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich. Campbell’s size (6-foot-4, 232 pounds) and speed made him a versatile performer in coach Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme as a player who could also be used as an extra pass-rusher.

Campbell eventually established a reputation for defending top tight ends. He even boldly stated that there was no tight end in the league he couldn’t guard successfully.

2020 Free Agency | Cardinals
What you need to know about the Arizona Cardinals:

• Cardinals’ free-agent signings »
• Tracker: Latest signings and news »
• Barnwell’s grades » | Top 100 FAs »
• Free-agency coverage » | More NFL »

In four seasons with the Falcons, Campbell had 363 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions while starting 54 games.

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New Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Jordan Phillips was introduced to the Arizona media via video conference on Monday. There were a few things we learned in that call.

Some are football-related. Some are not.

He’s out to prove he’s the ‘real deal’

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Already detailed in a story, Phillips is out to prove in Arizona that his big numbers in 2019 are something he can continue. He had 9.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits at 13 tackles for loss last season. Some believe it was a fluke or it was him playing for a contract.