Arizona Cardinals' Depth Chart: First Look at Week 1 Lineups

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Arizona Cardinals' Depth Chart: First Look at Week 1 Lineups
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Where is Ryan Williams on the depth chart?

Week 1 of the NFL season is upon us, and the Arizona Cardinals released the first depth chart of 2013 on Tuesday. We will give the entire chart to you, plus give some analysis on certain positions.

The St. Louis Rams will welcome Arizona into town on Sunday afternoon, and they will have to contend with a team that, from top to bottom, is better than the 2012 team that finished 5-11.

That does not mean the Cardinals are a deep team. It is closer to the opposite, in fact. Some positions have solid depth throughout, but others are top heavy and leave something to be desired on the back end.

Here is an in-depth look at Arizona’s depth chart for Week 1 against the Rams.

 

Offense

Offensive Depth Chart (*Rookie)
WR1 Larry Fitzgerald Jaron Brown*
LT Levi Brown Nate Potter
LG Daryn Colledge
C Lyle Sendlein Mike Gibson
RG Paul Fanaika Earl Watford*
RT Eric Winston Bobby Massie Bradley Sowell
TE Jim Dray Kory Sperry
WR2 Michael Floyd Andre Roberts
QB Carson Palmer Drew Stanton Ryan Lindley
RB Rashard Mendenhall Ryan Williams Stepfan Taylor* Alfonso Smith Andre Ellington*
TE Rob Housler D.C. Jefferson*

AZCardinals.com

Running back Ryan Williams is back to the No. 2 spot behind Rashard Mendenhall. Williams played well in Denver on his way to roster redemption after missing two weeks of camp with knee soreness.

The third-year back carried nine times for 25 yards and a touchdown in about a quarter of play before head coach Bruce Arians sat him, apparently seeing plenty of Williams to know he was good to go.

Also, the fact that Jim Dray is listed as the No. 2 tight end tells us something about how the offense will run early in the season. The team has yet to bring in a tight end (Bradley Sowell playing some TE in college does not mean he should do it in Arizona), but rather than going with perhaps a better receiving option in Kory Sperry, Arians will roll with Dray, who was rated as the best run-blocking non-lineman on the team this preseason according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Dray showed the ability to move people around in the run game, which makes personnel decisions easier when calling plays in the huddle.

He will move all over the field, most likely being used as an H-back—that is, playing on the line as a traditional tight end, playing some fullback as a run blocker and generally being placed in motion most of the time.

 

Defense

Defensive Depth Chart (*Rookie)
DE Calais Campbell Ronald Talley
NT Dan Williams Alameda Ta'amu
DE Darnell Dockett Frostee Rucker
SLB Sam Acho Alex Okafor*
ILB Jasper Brinkley Kevin Minter*
ILB Karlos Dansby
WLB Lorenzo Alexander Matt Shaughnessy John Abraham
LCB Patrick Peterson Javier Arenas Jamell Fleming
SS Yeremiah Bell Tony Jefferson*
FS Rashad Johnson Tyrann Mathieu*
RCB Jerraud Powers Antoine Cason Justin Bethel

AZCardinals.com

With the addition of enormous defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu via the waiver wire, the defensive line now has two massive run-stopping nose tackles.

Dan Williams will obviously start and play the bulk of the nose-tackle snaps, but Ta’amu—who stands 6’2” and tips the scale at 348 pounds—could help out early to counter heavy looks from opposing offenses. Short-yardage and goal-line situations will be how the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fourth-round pick in 2012 earns more playing time.

Outside linebacker John Abraham listed third at weak-side linebacker behind two good run defenders is not an indication that he will ride the pine all season. The Cardinals signed the 10-year veteran to rush the passer, and he will play plenty.

But most of his playing time could come as a nickel linebacker. Base formations could feature a combination of Lorenzo Alexander and Matt Shaughnessy.

 

Special Teams

Special Teams Depth Chart (*Rookie)
K Jay Feely
P Dave Zastudil
LS Mike Leach
KR Javier Arenas Alfonso Smith Andre Ellington*
PR Patrick Peterson Javier Arenas Tyrann Mathieu*

AZCardinals.com

Two quick things to note with the special teams depth chart. Firstly, Tyrann Mathieu listed as the third punt returner means he will play a lot on defense and likely will not be featured as a returner—not now, at least.

Secondly, Javier Arenas as the kick returner is not an overwhelming thought for opposing special-teams units. He has yet to return a kick for a touchdown in his three NFL seasons, and his longest return is just 35 yards (done twice). With the likelihood that running back Andre Ellington does not play much on Sundays, sending him out as the returner appears to be a better option.

At least Ellington has returned a kick for touchdown in his playing career (2010 with Clemson). Arenas has never taken one to the house, not in the NFL and not in college.

But there is a first time for everything, right?

Load More Stories

Follow Arizona Cardinals from B/R on Facebook

Follow Arizona Cardinals from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Out of Bounds

Arizona Cardinals

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.