The Arizona Cardinals have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. With that said, it doesn’t mean there won’t be a few surprising decisions that we should expect to see when the team’s final 53-man roster is set.
Let’s take a look at a few things, at a few different positions that we should likely get prepared for as the Cardinals work their way down to the 53-man roster.
No major changes to the wide receiver position
We know the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, J.J. Nelson and Jaron Brown aren’t going anywhere. With that said, 28-year-old wideout Brittan Golden has done enough to hold on to his roster spot as well. Golden had an impressive showing in the all-important third preseason game, a 34-24 loss to the Houston Texans. In that game, he caught six passes for 80 yards and was consistently targeted.
While a few other receivers have made a fairly strong push, specifically Chris Hubert from Fayetteville State and Jaxon Shipley from Texans, there just aren’t enough roster spots for the Cardinals to hold on to any more than six receivers. To go along with that, as strong as Hubert and Shipley have been this offseason, it shouldn’t be enough to push any of those names above off the roster.
A whole lot of defensive backs
As reported by AZCentral.com, recently signed free agent Mike Jenkins suffered a torn ACL and will now miss the entire season. This is brutal news, largely due to the fact that he was pushing for the No. 2 cornerback job across from Patrick Peterson. Now, the Cardinals enter the fourth preseason game without a sure-fire answer to their cornerback question. This could cause head coach Bruce Arians to go heavy at defensive back until he finds an answer.
Justin Bethel seems to be mostly likely to start opposite of Peterson, but nothing is locked in at this point. We’ll have to hold out a bit on getting this news, and it’s a battle that could very well drag on for several weeks.
Matt Barkley holds onto his job
It was a bit of a toss-up in terms of what was going to happen with the No. 3 quarterback job on the Cardinals. While Barkley had a brutal start to the preseason, completing just 8-of-24 passes for 121 yards and one interception in the opener, he was able to right the ship in the next two preseason games. Over the final two games, the former USC quarterback completed 22-of-33 passes for 247 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
His improved play was drastically needed at the time, but his task got even a bit easier when USA TODAY reported that the team waived/injured Barkley’s biggest competition in rookie QB Jake Coker on Monday afternoon. However, that doesn’t mean Coker is gone for good as he could revert to the Cardinals’ injured reserve if he goes unclaimed.