As we inch close and closer to the start of the NFL season, training camps are begging to wind down and roster positioning is starting to heat up.
Looking at the Arizona Cardinals roster, there are some spots that can go either way. There are plenty of players that have made great impressions on the front office, while others seem to have lost some steam. That begs the question, which players will be on the roster when the Cardinals open the season on September 12?
Here is my prediction on how the roster will look like on week one.
Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy
There are no surprises here. There will be plenty of eyes on Kyler Murray this year. He made a jump in his performance but will be looking to take another leap in year three. Colt McCoy was brought in to lead the Cardinals just in case Murray sustains an injury.
Chase Edmonds, James Conner, Jonathan Ward, Eno Benjamin
Edmonds and Conner will carry the bulk of the carries for the offense. Matter of fact, there could be some situations where the two will be on the field together. It will be intriguing how the carries are split. Jonathan Ward took first team reps early on in camp and got an extensive look when Conner landed on the COVID list. He has earned a spot on the team thus far. Another player that has earned his spot is Eno Benjamin.
DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, KeeSean Johnson, Andy Isabella
The three main targets for Kyler will be Hopkins, Green and Kirk. It will be different not seeing Larry Fitzgerald running around the field. Fitzgerald has been a mainstay for the Cardinals since taking the field in 2004. It will be the start of a new era for sure.
Isabella makes the team, but if Moore breaks out, this will be the last run for Isabella. The 2019 second-round pick hasn’t been able to remain healthy to see playing time for a second-round pick. Moore has made plenty of big plays in camp and has been fun to watch during the preseason. Moore could turn into the weapon that Isabella was supposed to be, picking this up at a quick pace.
Maxx Williams, Darrell Daniels, Ross Travis
It is no secret that this is the weakest spot on the Cardinals roster. With that being said, the Cardinals will take experience over youth. The three tight ends with the most game experience are Williams, Daniels, and Travis. Williams and Daniels will likely split the plays with Travis being an insurance policy.
D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh, Rodney Hudson, Justin Murray, Kelvin Beachum, Joshua Miles, Max Garcia, Josh Jones, Brian Winters
The starting five is pretty much solidified. The backup depth has been better than in recent years. Second year man Josh Jones could play both tackle and guard, Max Garcia has been a solid contributor at center when asked to contribute, while Joshua Miles adds depth at the tackle spot as well.
Hopefully, Humphries, Pugh, Hudson, Murray and Beachem can keep Murray upright. If Arizona wants to have any success this season, it starts with the offensive line play.
J.J. Watt, Rashard Lawrence, Jordan Phillips, Zach Allen, Leki Fotu, Corey Peters
Watt, Lawrence, and Phillips are pretty much a lock to be starters on opening day. Peters adds plenty of depth in case of injury, he can play on the end and up the middle. Allen and Fotu will also look to make the most of out of their opportunities when their number is called.
Chandler Jones, Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins, Markus Golden, Dennis Gardeck, Jordan Hicks, Devon Kennard, Tanner Vallejo, Ezekiel Turner
It is very rare that a rookie can come in from day one and take over the starting job from a veteran. Zaven Collins seems to have picked it up rather quickly and looks to be a lock to start in the middle on day one. After using his first year as a soft learning experience, Simmons looks to ascend to the player he was touted to be in year two. It will be interesting to see what kind of role Jordan Hicks will be given in the defensive scheme.
The team of Jones and Golden will try to terrorize the edge for the Cardinals this season. It remains to be seen if the Cardinals will attempt to trade Jones before the deadline.
Malcolm Butler, Byron Murphy Jr., Robert Alford, Darqueze Dennard, Marco Wilson, Jace Whittaker, Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Deionte Thompson, Chris Banjo, Charles Washington
Butler, Murphy Jr., and Alford are the starting trio at corner with Dennard as the fourth corner. Wilson and Whittaker will take on the special teams’ role, with Wilson possible seeing game action depending on Dennard’s play. Baker and Jalen Thompson will be the starting safeties. Thompson, Banjo and Washington will likely be a revolving door when it comes to subbing in and out, with Washington likely to see most of the action on special teams.
Matt Prater, Andy Lee, Aaron Brewer
This is probably the easiest part of the roster to forecast. This trio is most likely a lock for day one.