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.
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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.