With Kyler Murray at the helm, the Arizona Cardinals have a bright future. Although they finished 5-10-1 in 2019, there is little doubt for improvement in 2020. With the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals are poised to have an excellent season. Can the Cardinals and their young roster meet their expectations, or will Kyler Murray fall into a sophomore slump?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
Inside Linebacker: De’Vondre Campbell, Isaiah Simmons
The Arizona Cardinals have the opposite of a problem at the linebacker position. With the addition of De’Vondre Campbell and Isaiah Simmons, the Cardinals have more starting-caliber linebackers than there are starting positions. While in Atlanta Campbell recorded 75 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 INTs. The Cardinals, however, drafted Isaiah Simmons despite the addition of Campbell. Campbell is most likely to start week 1 due to his experience in the NFL, however as the season continues and Simmons adjusts, he may take over the inside linebacker spot over Campbell.
Right Tackle: Marcus Gilbert, Justin Murray, Josh Jones
Marcus Gilbert is a veteran right tackle and started in 2019, however, he tore his ACL midway through 2019. Due to the injury to Gilbert, Justin Murray, a former UDFA, had received plenty of experience in 2019. Although Gilbert is seen as more talented, he has only played 12 games in the last 3 seasons due to injuries. This may lead the Cardinals to start Justin Murray so that he may improve his ability. The wildcard in the competition, however, is 3rd round steal Josh Jones. Jones was excellent at Houston and was one of the top linemen in the NFL draft. If he can make an impact in the preseason, he can usurp both Gilbert and Murray for the starting role.
Defensive Line: Zach Allen, Johnathan Bullard, Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence
Both Zach Allen and Johnathan Bullard’s shortened their seasons in 2019 due to injury. While healthy Bullard produced far better than Allen did, however, Allen has far less injury risk. However, these two veterans are not the only ones fighting for the 3rd D-line spot. The Cardinals selected both rookies Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence in the 3rd round. Fotu was a solid player at Utah, and Lawrence played well while at LSU. Both of these rookies will have a shot to take over from there recently injured Defensive linemen.
Ready To Break Out: Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray won the Rookie of the Year award in 2019. He finished the season with 4200 yards, 24 TDs, and only 12 interceptions. Murray recorded these numbers all without all-pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins. With a receiving core made up of Hopkins, Fitzgerald, and Christion Kirk, the former Heisman winner, has plenty of talent to throw the ball to. With a season of experience, and a rejuvenated roster full of talent, Kyler Murray is poised to break out and be one of the top signal-callers in the NFL.
Rookie To Watch: Isaiah Simmons
The Arizona Cardinals selected Isaiah Simmons with the 8th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Simmons was a superstar all-around defender while at Clemson. In his final year at Clemson Simmons had 104 tackles, 8 sacks, and 3 INTs as a linebacker. However, before his Junior year, Simmons played the Safety position. This gives Isaiah Simmons versatility to play several positions on the Cardinal’s defense. This may lead Simmons to not only compete for the starting linebacker position, bit for the safety or even the corner position as well. Although he played best as an inside linebacker, he is an asset at every position on the defense. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.
Fantasy Sleeper: Chase Edmonds
Kenyan Drake will be Arizona’s starting RB in the 2020 season. However, Drake has never had over 220 touches in an NFL season. Drake has shown in his career that he cannot handle a large workload. That means the excess carries will go to Chase Edmonds. In 2019 the one game where Edmonds had double-digit carries, he ran for 130 yards and 3 TDs. If Chase Edmonds is given consistent carries behind Kenyan Drake, he will have solid yards every game. If you’re needing an RB3 late in your fantasy drafts, Chase Edmonds could be an exceptional choice.