Cardinals receive ESPN’s praises for offseason, picked as most improved

Mar 29, 2020, 7:05 AM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals had a flawed roster in 2019 and they quickly patched together most of the holes on it this offseason.

They added a No. 1 wideout in DeAndre Hopkins, shored up linebacker on the inside and outside with Devon Kennard and De’Vondre Campbell and helped the defensive line with Jordan Phillips.

General manager Steve Keim also brought back his offensive tackles — D.J. Humphries, Marcus Gilbert and Justin Murray — as well as running back Kenyan Drake.

With the NFL Draft still left to fill in any gaps remaining, the Cardinals are definitely much better than they were the year prior, at least on paper.

ESPN’s Mina Kimes agrees, picking the Cardinals as the NFL’s most improved team this offseason after the first wave of free agency, mostly for the Hopkins addition.

Arizona Cardinals. I’m tempted to pick the Colts, who got better on both sides of the ball with Rivers and Buckner, or the Dolphins, who will improve simply by adding starting-level players, but wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins — acquired in a trade with Houston — was the best player to change teams.

Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz agrees.

Sorry to continue to harp on the Hopkins trade, but the Cardinals added a top-10 receiver and all it cost them was an overpaid running back (David Johnson) they didn’t even want to start. Jordan Phillips and Devon Kennard are useful defensive pieces as well.

Kimes, Mike Clay, Kevin Seifert and Field Yates all wrote Hopkins was the best offseason addition out of a panel of nine total, with Clay noting what it can do for quarterback Kyler Murray.

I’ll go with Hopkins here because A) Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury adamantly expressed a need for a perimeter, vertical receiver at the combine, and B) Arizona got such an incredibly good deal, which included getting backup running back David Johnson off the books. Supplying second-year quarterback Kyler Murray with a go-to weapon is huge for his development and figures to lead to a breakout 2020 for the Arizona offense.

Hopkins is certainly a good enough player to warrant all this praise for the Cardinals.

His average stat line over seven years of 90 receptions, 1,229 receiving yards and eight touchdowns backs that up. In a rather pedestrian 2019 by his standards, Hopkins still managed 104 catches for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns.

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