Updated Jun 7, 2013 - 4:38 pm
ESPN's Kiper says Arizona Cardinals had a top-5 offseason
So, when the Arizona Cardinals repeatedly get recognized for what they've done since losing to the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 27-13 in Week 17 of last season, it's tough not to feel good about things.
First, ESPN's scout Matt Williamson praised the team's offseason, and now ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., in an Insider piece, has done the same, saying the Cardinals had one of the five best offseasons in the NFL.
Kiper praises the selection of guard Jonathan Cooper with their first-round pick, saying he's the player that "has the best chance to go to a Pro Bowl as a rookie."
Jonathan Cooper isn't going to maul defenders in the run game, but he's a complete guard who further strengthens an offensive line that quietly made huge strides down the stretch last season.
Besides drafting Cooper, Kiper also thinks highly of the team's move to trade for quarterback Carson Palmer.
Palmer still makes decisions that don't live up to his talent profile, but if you protect him and give him any kind of running game, he's a big step forward from what the Cardinals had. It's not really a debate. And they basically paid nothing in terms of draft value and simply have to write Palmer his sizable checks.
He later goes on to note that the biggest question remaining for the team is how well it can protect Palmer, but says the growth of right tackle Bobby Massie last year was no fluke because the player was talented, if still a bit raw.
Bottom line: The Cardinals could compete to win other divisions. Like the Rams, though, they could be cast as a noncompetitor in the NFC West. This defense has a chance to be really tough, and I don't think any team will come to Arizona this year and assume a road victory.
Well, that part isn't as exciting, but things could be plenty worse for the Cards.
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Arizona Cardinals' coach expects 'questionable' Carson Palmer to play Sunday vs. St. Louis Rams
- Michael Floyd: A threat Arizona Cardinals have not had since Anquan Boldin
- Arizona Cardinals' OC: Rashard Mendenhall 'back to what I remember' from Pittsburgh
- Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals practice - Dec. 5
- Arizona Cardinals' Jay Feely feels a responsibility to help others
- Wolf's NFL 5 Star Games - Week 14 - Friday December 6The must-see NFL games of the weekend.
- Wolf's Film Room - Friday December 6Ron Wolfley grinds film all week and shares his findings in the Cardinals-Rams match-up
- John Clayton, ESPN NFL Insider - Friday December 6The Professor provides insight into this week's NFL headlines
- Ron Jaworski, ESPN NFL Analyst - Thursday December 5A recap of the Cardinals game in Philly and what to expect against the Rams.
- Craig Wolfley, Steelers Sideline Analyst - Thursday December 5Will Ben Roethlisberger leave the Steelers?