Mike Jurecki’s Arizona Cardinals roster projection – Final version 5.0
While several storylines will emerge from camp, the one everyone will be watching is the battle for the 53-man roster.
Key dates to watch are Sept. 2, when clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the active/inactive list prior to 1 p.m. There’s also the day after on Sept. 3 when the claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction expires at 9 a.m. and one hour later, teams may form their practice squad of 10 players.
Here’s the fifth and final version of my 53-man roster projection:
QUARTERBACKS (3): Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert
The Cardinals will keep three quarterbacks on the active roster. Undrafted free agent quarterback Trevor Knight will handle the majority of the final preseason game.
RUNNING BACKS (4): David Johnson, Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, Elijhaa Penny.
It looks like it will come down to Chris Johnson or Ellington for the final spot. T.J. Logan underwent wrist surgery and is likely out a total of 12 weeks. Depending on his recovery time he could return in Week 8 against the Rams in London.
Undrafted free agent running back James Summers will likely get a heavy load in the final preseason game against the Broncos.
RECEIVERS (7): Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson, Chad Williams, Brittan Golden, Aaron Dobson.
Jeremy Ross is fighting for a roster spot. Dobson has the ability to become a down-the-field threat because of his size and deceptive speed.
Carlton Agudosi, Krishawn Hogan, Chris Hubert will likely be waived when cuts are announced and a couple could be options for the practice squad.
TIGHT ENDS (3): Jermaine Gresham, Troy Niklas, Ifeanyi Momah
Momah is trending to secure a roster spot. Hakeem Valles, Gerald Christian and Ricky Seals-Jones are eligible for the practice squad. I believe the Cardinals will continue to look for another tight end after roster cutdown day.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8): D.J. Humphries, Mike Iupati, A.Q. Shipley, Evan Boehm, Jared Veldheer, Cole Toner, Dorian Johnson, John Wetzel
Cuts: Will Holden, Kaleb Johnson, Tony Bergstrom, Givens Price, Jonathan McLaughlin, Daniel Munyer. Ulrick John could be the odd man out at swing tackle.
The Cardinals really like Munyer, who is a natural center with good size. Holden was a fifth-round pick.
One or two could be options for the practice squad between Munyer, Holden, McLaughlin, Price, John or Johnson.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (7): Frostee Rucker, Corey Peters, Josh Mauro, Rodney Gunter, Robert Nkemdiche, Olsen Pierre, Xavier Williams
Pasoni Tasini, David Moala, Peli Anau and Ed Stinson are all expected to be released, and the Cardinals will likely keep seven at the position. Tasini would a perfect fit for the practice squad
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (4): Chandler Jones, Markus Golden, Kareem Martin, Cap Capi (Looking at other outside linebackers)
Jarvis Jones is a wild card considering all the time he’s missed. Terance Waugh and Alex Bazzie will need to show their worth in the final preseason game to garner a roster spot.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (5): Karlos Dansby, Deone Bucannon, Haason Reddick, Josh Bynes, Scooby Wright.
It could come down to Bynes or Philip Wheeler for one spot. Wright will make the team strictly on special teams. Wheeler, Zaviar Gooden and Tre’Von Johnson are also competing for one of the inside linebacker spots.
CORNERBACKS (4): Patrick Peterson, Justin Bethel, Brandon Williams, Tramon Williams
SAFETIES (5): Tyrann Mathieu, Antoine Bethea, Tyvon Branch, Budda Baker, Rudy Ford.
Harlan Miller and Ford are competing the final safety spot. If Miller clears waivers he would be an option for the practice squad.
SPECIALISTS (3): LS Aaron Brewer, K Phil Dawson, P Matt Wile. (The Cardinals are reportedly interested in Panthers punter Andy Lee)
Matt Wile has the advantage going into the final preseason game and provides experience after being on the roster late in 2016. Arizona will continue to evaluate other punters.
Players are eligible for the practice squad if they clear waivers. Teams are allowed to up to 10. Here are some likely candidates:
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
WR Krishawn Hogan
WR Carlton Agudosi
S Rudy Ford
RB Elijhaa Penny
CB Sojourn Shelton
CB Gump Hayes
CB Ironhead Gallon
OT Ulrick John
OT Givens Price