New-Look Arizona Cardinals Are Best in NFC West

Chris GreenCorrespondent IIIAugust 3, 2011

FLAGSTAFF, AZ - JULY 30:  Quarterback Kevin Kolb #4 of the Arizona Cardinals throws the football at the team training camp at Northern Arizona University on July 30, 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals have been one of the most active teams in the NFL since the lockout ended.  

The Cardinals made significant acquisitions—Kevin Kolb, Todd Heap, Stewart Bradley, and Daryn Colledge—while losing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tim Hightower, and Steve Breaston.

The addition of Kevin Kolb automatically makes the Cardinals the favorite to win the division.  

Winning in the NFL hinges on having a good quarterback, and the Cardinals now have a better quarterback than the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and perhaps even the St. Louis Rams.

This is in addition to already having the best receiver, and, after adding Heap, one of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL, the Cardinals passing game looks to be drastically improved.

The loss of Rodgers-Cromartie should have a limited effect for the Cardinals, and they are no weaker at cornerback heading into this season than they were last year.

The drafting of Patrick Peterson should actually improve them in the secondary. Many draft prognosticators listed Peterson as the best overall player in the draft, and he is a more physical cornerback than DRC and outweighs him by almost 40 pounds while having comparable speed.   

Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson should also be much improved as he played the entire 2010 season with a torn abductor, an injury that was undisclosed until the offseason, when he had surgery to repair it.

Meanwhile the Cardinals' fellow NFC West members did little to improve, and it can be argued that the 49ers actually appear worse off than they were last season. The only area in which they improved was head coach.

The Seahawks, to their credit, did pick up the top free-agent receiver, Sydney Rice, and one of the top tight ends, Zach Miller.  

But as the Cardinals learned last year, having a good receiver without a capable quarterback is like having a bullet without a gun.

On the other end, the Rams have a gun but no bullet, as the best receiver they could find for the emerging Sam Bradford was Mike Sims-Walker.

Cardinals fans are excited and with good reason if the offseason moves provide any glimpse into the regular season.