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Sam Acho† (Right OLB)
Daryl Washington† (Strong ILB)
Paris Lenon† (Weak ILB)
O’Brien Schofield† (Left OLB)
Sam Acho, Daryl Washington and O’Brien Schofield are all part of one of the best young linebacking corps in the NFL. The production from the outside will be the driving force of the defense, and Acho led the way as a rookie with seven sacks in only 10 starts.
If Quan Sturdivant has improved his perception of the defense as much as hoped, he should make the roster. Sturdivant believes he is ready, and he thinks his first offseason with the team will be a big help.
“The defense, I think I am adjusted to it now. To not have an offseason (last year)…this offseason, I think it’ll help a lot,” he told AZCardinals.com.
This is a big year for Stewart Bradley. The Cardinals gave him a huge contract preceding the lockout, and once the work stoppage took hold, his ability to learn defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s defense—and a different linebacker position—took a big hit.
Bradley moved from the 4-3 in Philadelphia to the 3-4 in Arizona, and the transition was rocky in his first season.
Clark Haggans is the other UFA to be re-signed at some point. He slowly gave way to Schofield in 2011, but he played well enough to continue to be given playing time. He may have been the most consistent OLB on the roster throughout the course of the season.