It’s a wrap! After writing 32 training camp articles for every team, we conclude the 2018 series with the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals took the drunk approach to this offseason when they decided to spend $28 million on Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon this offseason while parting ways with stud safety Tyrann Mathieu. It’s hard not to think that maybe Steve Keim really was drunk this offseason, he has a DUI to show for it. Arizona did have some good things going for them which suggest that maybe Keim was finally starting to overcome his hangover with a strong draft. Regardless, this team looks and feels like a 3rd or 4th place team in the NFC West. What can we expect from the Arizona Cardinals as they open up the season in 2018?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
1. Quarterback: Sam Bradford, Josh Rosen, Mike Glennon
Sam Bradford is projected to open up the season as the starter but in reality, that’s a complete and utter joke. Bradford’s career is over, his knees are shot, and he can’t run faster than a statue. Mike Glennon just flat out stinks so I’m not going to waste my time writing about him. Sooner or later it’s going to be Josh Rosen’s turn. Rosen just reminds me of the Manning’s as a very mechanical pocket passer. Is he closer to Eli or Peyton?
2. Middle Linebacker: Josh Bynes, Scooby Wright
Deone Bucannon has one middle linebacker spot locked up but the other middle linebacker job is available. Josh Bynes is a journeymen linebacker who is nothing more than average. Scooby Wright was a once heralded linebacker at the University Arizona has fallen off the face of the earth and bounced around the league. Wright has 7 career tackles in two years so there can’t be too much confidence in him at this point either.
3. Free Safety: Antonie Bethea, Rudy Ford, Tre Boston
Tyrann Mathieu is gone and now the free safety spot is wide open. Antoine Bethea is the leader in the clubhouse but he’s getting to the point where he’s old and washed up. Bethea did have 5 interceptions in 2017 but at 34, he’s no sure thing. Tre Boston comes over as a free agent defection from the Chargers who also had 5 INT’s in 2017. Boston is a solid safety but he’s never really produced this kind of ball production until this year. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter how these guys played because they could have the honey badger back there.
Ready To Breakout: Budda Baker
While I’m still confused why the honey badger is gone, Budda Baker is becoming a rising star. Baker is a versatile defensive back who can play in the box and cover in the slot. The former Washington prospect is just the perfect chess piece in any secondary that any team would love. Baker graded as the 32nd best safety in the NFL as a rookie and is growing in leaps and bounds. I would expect him to top his 74 tackle, 1 sack rookie season in 2018.
Rookie To Watch: Christian Kirk
Christian Kirk might be the most exciting rookie the Cardinals drafted if that means anything. I think there’s a chance that the former Texas A&M product can become a similar player to Keenan Allen. Kirk is a really good route runner and he creates a perfect complement to Larry Fitzgerald who is essentially becoming a slower tight end over the middle. Kirk can also do some damage on special teams which adds to his value as well. This pick should work out well for the red birds.
Fantasy Sleeper: Ricky Seals-Jones
Here’s another former Texas A&M player but this time it’s Ricky Seals-Jones. Christian Kirk is the polar opposite to Seals-Jones because Seals-Jones has now been converted to tight end. The small sample size a year ago yielded some hefty results. Seals-Jones is a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-5. He wasn’t used often because of how raw he is but when Seals-Jones was targeted, the Cardinals tight end averaged close to 17 yards per catch. Who knows; maybe Seals-Jones is the next rising star at the position.