Breaking Down the Arizona Cardinals Depth Chart After the Peak of Free Agency
The Cardinals got off to a rough start in free agency. Fans and writers alike were not too happy about some of the moves being made.
As time progressed, it became more clear as to what their strategy is. Several new faces have been brought in already this offseason, and the team is starting to shape up.
There are several holes that need to be filled over the final weeks of free agency and in the draft as well.
With that being said, Arizona seems to be heading in the right direction and is looking a lot better than it was a couple of weeks ago.
The following slides will breakdown the Arizona Cardinals depth chart as we head into the draft.
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John Skelton/Ryan Lindley
One of the most intriguing things about the offseason for Arizona fans has been the quarterback situation.
Now that Kevin Kolb is out of the picture, one can only wonder whether this team will draft a new signal-caller or role with what they have.
The starting job is pretty much up for grabs at this point. As much as we do not want to hear it, even John Skelton and Ryan Lindley have an outside chance.
Many believe that Drew Stanton will be given the job. He is familiar with new Head Coach Bruce Arians and received more money than expected.
I would not sleep on Brian Hoyer, though. He is the only man the Cardinals have right now that can take the starting job from Stanton.
Hoyer is familiar with most of the Arizona offense and should get the nod over Stanton for the time being.
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Rashard Mendenhall, Anthony Sherman
The Cardinals will have a new starting running back in 2013. They released Beanie Wells and did not make much of an effort to re-sign LaRod Stephens-Howling.
He will get the nod this year and is expected to carry the load in Bruce Arians’ offense. Ryan Williams will likely get carries off of the bench when he returns to full health.
Staying healthy is the key for the Cardinals. A healthy Mendenhall and Williams makes for a solid running back duo.
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The only significant move made at the wide receiver position so far has been releasing Early Doucet. This is something that had to be done.
With the emergence of Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts last year, Arizona has a solid receiving core on its hands.
Floyd will likely start opposite Larry Fitzgerald come Week 1, and we will see a lot of Roberts in the slot.
In addition to these three, LaRon Byrd is someone who should get more playing time with Doucet gone. He was impressive in the preseason last year and has loads of potential.
No matter who the quarterback is, there is no shortage of weapons for him.
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The only recent loss at the tight end position is Todd Heap. He was released by the team early in December.
Bruce Arians likes to run a lot of two-tight end sets and will probably look to the draft to bring in another body.
After releasing Dallas Clark, the Indianapolis Colts drafted both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen last year.
We have yet to reach the draft, though, and the Cardinals' current starter is Rob Housler. It will be very interesting to see how he is used by Coach Arians.
Jeff King will be backing up Housler and is also someone who I am intrigued to watch in 2013.
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Despite many big-name tackles being available in free agency, the Cardinals neglected to bring one of them in. This may be a good thing, though, as a lineman can be had at a much cheaper rate in the draft.
Levi Brown returning from injury will provide a pretty big boost for the offensive line. Whether he is at guard or tackle, he will be an upgrade over what we saw last year.
I currently have him slated as the starting left tackle, but if right guard is not addressed in the draft, he should move there. This would mean Nate Potter would get the nod at left tackle.
One of the better linemen the Cardinals have had over the past couple of years has been Daryn Colledge. That is not saying much, though.
Unless major changes are made, he will continue to be the starting left guard. There is not much depth behind him either.
Let’s hope his play improves between a healthy Levi Brown and Lyle Sendlein.
With Rich Ohrnberger going to San Diego, Lyle Sendlein pretty much has the starting center job locked up.
After missing five games with an injury in 2012, the 29-year-old should be coming into camp with a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
He is another player that could potentially be replaced through the draft. With a few other needs to address, though, his job should be safe this year.
It baffles me that Arizona has not talked to any guards in free agency. There are several men out there who are not only upgrades over Adam Snyder, but affordable as well.
Snyder should not and hopefully will not be the starter come Week 1, but he is really the only option they have right now.
Senio Kelemete is still raw, but may be able to start somewhere a few years down the road. The new offensive line coaches will greatly benefit him.
Whether it is Jake Scott, Chance Warmack or even Larry Warford, someone must be brought in to replace Snyder.
Levi Brown, Bobby Massie and Nate Potter are currently the only three tackles on the roster. All three men are capable of starting, but a bit of depth behind them would not be a bad thing.
Based on who they have now, Brown and Massie are the starters. Nate Potter is right behind them and will be ready to fill in if there is an injury.
Although Massie struggled early on, he was great during the second half of the season. He was one of only two right tackles to not allow a sack over the final eight games.
If the Cardinals draft a tackle or Potter continues to improve, this team will have the position set for the next decade.
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The Cardinals have two of the better defensive ends in the game. Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell both have Pro Bowl potential in 2013.
With the contracts of Nick Eason and Vonnie Holliday expiring, however, depth was a bit of an issue early in free agency.
That was until they signed both Frostee Rucker and Matt Shaughnessy.
Shaughnessy is capable of starting, and having a player like him on the roster will allow the defense to mix it up a bit.
They can run both 3-4 and 4-3 sets, and Shaughnessy can play both defensive end and outside linebacker if need be.
Rucker is a solid depth pickup that can play both end and tackle.
The nose tackle position in Arizona will be set for a long time. Dan Williams finally came into his own in 2012, and David Carter has been great since joining the team as a sixth-round pick in 2011.
Both men having starting-calibre qualities and will push each other to be better. The future is bright for the Cardinals defensive line.
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Adding a pass-rusher is something that the Cards should consider during the draft. They lost Quentin Groves in free agency, leaving only O’Brien Schofield and Sam Acho.
As mentioned in the previous slide, Matt Shaughnessy can play outside linebacker if needed, but he is more of a run stuffer than a pass-rusher.
Schofield and Acho will likely be the starters for Arizona yet again in 2013. Using a mid-late round pick on a pass-rusher would not be a terrible idea though.
With Paris Lenon ready to move on, inside linebacker was a big need for Arizona heading into free agency. It became an even bigger need after the release of Stewart Bradley.
The front office filled that need pretty quick, however. They brought in both Lorenzo Alexander and Jasper Brinkley.
Brinkley had 99 tackles and three forced fumbles with the Vikings last year. He will start next to Daryl Washington.
With Alexander and Reggie Walker as depth, this is no longer a big need for the Cardinals.
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Depth at the cornerback position has been an issue for the Cardinals in the past. After losing Richard Marshall and Greg Toler in consecutive years, it was looking like that would be the case again.
Steve Keim made sure that would not be much of an issue though. He went out and signed both Antoine Cason and Jerraud Powers early in free agency.
Cason will get the start opposite of Pro Bowl corner Patrick Peterson. Powers and sophomore Jamell Fleming will compete for playing time behind those two.
If Fleming lives up to his potential over the next couple of years, good luck completing a pass against this group of corners.
The safety position for Arizona has been blown up this offseason. It employed one of the better safety tandems in football before releasing both Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson.
To replace these two men, the Cards re-signed Rashad Johnson and signed 35-year-old Yeremiah Bell.
Justin Bethel can play safety if needed but is listed as a corner. As of right now, Johnson and Bell are the only two safeties on the roster.
They are the starters as of right now, but you can expect someone to be brought in via the draft.
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Fan-favorite Jay Feely will be around for another year. He missed just three field goals this past year and hit a 61-yard kick against Buffalo. This could very well be his last year in Arizona.
When a punter is a candidate for team MVP, you know you have done something wrong. Dave Zastudil had several personal-bests in 2012 as he punted the ball over 100 times.
Hopefully his leg is not needed as much going forward.