Last year, the Cardinals seemed poised to make the playoffs. After starting the season 6-3, they finished 8-8 with questions on whether or not Kliff Kingsbury is a quality NFL head coach.
In the offseason, the Cardinals opened up their wallets and welcomed familiar faces to the desert. On the defensive side of the ball, they added JJ Watt, Malcolm Butler, and resigned edge rusher Markus Golden. Solid signings, but the problem I have is they are all on the other side of 30. We'll see if Vance Joseph can squeeze out any talent from these aging superstars.
To be honest, I'm most excited to see what this linebacker duo can do. They drafted the swiss-army knife linebacker, Isaiah Simmons from Clemson last year. He struggled to start the season, but seemed to get into the groove at the end of the season. Simmons has looked good in training camp, according to reports. He also made a big-time change. He changed his number from 48 to 9.
Gross. Doesn't look like a first-round pick to me.
Much better. (Sorry, this was the only photo I could find on Google)
Playing alongside him will be first-round pick, Zaven Collins from Tulsa. I don't know much about him, but reading reports, he looks the part of being a first-round pick. This duo could be one of the more exciting linebacking duos in the league.
They also have Chandler Jones coming back (despite trade rumors surrounding him popping up) and also have one of the best safeties in the league in Budda Baker. I'm most concerned about their secondary play, especially at cornerback. If they can get consistent cornerback play, this defense will be pretty solid.
Kliff Kingsbury's seat is a little warm to start this season. Let's be real. If Kingsbury can't come up with a consistent offense week to week, he could be back coaching in the dying Big 12. We've seen flashes of greatness from this offense. Can they put together a consistent season?
When Kyler Murray dusted the A's a few years ago to become the number one overall pick, many questioned if he made the right choice. Mostly due to his size. A few years later, I think we can all agree he made a good decision choosing the NFL. The talent is there. He can move around and has the arm to make every throw on the field. Again, it comes down to being consistent for 17 games. He certainly has a good supporting group around him when it comes to skill players.
The notable additions were AJ Green and James Conner. They also traded for a really good center in Rodney Hudson, but we'll get to the offensive line a little later. I don't think we're going to see AJ Green from his prime, but I think he still has some solid football left in the tank. He looked pretty awful in Cincinnati last year, but I think we all would look bad if we spent our last nine years around people that enjoy this.
They also return Deandre Hopkins, Christain Kirk, and Chase Edmonds. It appears that Larry Fitzgerald is enjoying the golf course too much and will finally close the book on his career. Although, don't be surprised to see #11 on the field once week one starts. You never know with him.
The offensive line group is pretty solid. Adding Rodney Hudson from the Raiders was a big move for this group. If they improve on their run blocking, that would be huge for this unit. Especially if they can get the run game going with James Conner.
BEST VALUE FANTASY PLAYER
For me, it's Chase Edmonds. Regardless of James Conner being in the same backfield, I think Edmonds is going to have a pretty big role in this offense. Conner also has an injury history. If Conner goes down, you'll see Edmonds play in a three-down back role. A great solid value pickup if you see him in the later rounds.
TOTAL WIN PREDICTION
Their current win total is at 8.5. I'm going to take the under. Even though they have a solid roster, they play in the toughest division in football. They are definitely my least favorite team in the NFC West. I think they will hover around eight wins, but I don't see them making the playoffs.
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