When you think about the defense of the Arizona Cardinals, you think top 10. While a top 10 defense can keep you in ball games a less than stellar offense can take you right out. However, the number two-ranked defense in 2016 has something prove. 2017 will be more of the same if not better.
The Arizona Cardinals have an outstanding secondary. With players such as Patrick Peterson and Brandon Williams on the outside, it is hard to find an area to throw to. They also have Tyrann Mathieu and Antoine Bethea roaming the middle of the field. Not only do these two players supply excellent support against the passing game, they both are tremendous run stoppers as well.
When you look at the linebacking group of the Arizona Cardinals, you see loads of talent. Moreover, they only added to that talent in the 2017 draft. A midseason trade with the New England Patriots, in 2016 brought over stud pass rusher Chandler Jones. Then they bring back a player the caliber of Karlos Dansby to help maintain the middle and the Cardinals are looking solid. Add 2017 first round pick Hasson Reddick to the mix and now this may have become the strongest position on the defense. There should be no reason, barring injury that this group should not be the defensive leader this season.
Now we get to talk a little about the defensive line. Here is where the questions arise for the Arizona Cardinals defense. Gone is star defensive lineman Calais Campbell. He jetted for the big contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Trying to fill his shoes is the second-year player Robert Nkemdiche. Nkemdiche was a star along the defensive line in college. He was always playing in the offensive backfield. Can he replicate that in 2017? Doing so will allow the Cardinals, Defensive Coordinator, James Bettcher to be creative with other players.
The defense of the Arizona Cardinals will be top ten again in 2017. They have too many stars and role players to be less. It will be up the line to produce results so that other positions can stay fresh. If they can get solid production from that front three, many will talk about the 2017 Arizona Cardinals going deep in the NFC Playoffs.
Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.