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4-down territory: Most underrated Arizona Cardinals for 2020

Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters (98) celebrates his sack of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Who are the most underrated Arizona Cardinals heading into the 2020 season?

What underrated means might differ between Doug & Wolf’s Doug Franz, Ron Wolfley and Paul Calvisi, but nevertheless, the Arizona Sports hosts were asked the question. Some of their picks were based on the lack of national respect, while others don’t get enough credit for doing the less noticed dirty work for the Cardinals.

Let’s go four downs to determine which Arizona players are being overlooked with the season opener at San Francisco less than two weeks away.


1st down

Doug Franz: WR Larry Fitzgerald

Why: “I don’t care how you rate them. If you’re the greatest receiver of all-time based on the fact that you’re close to beating Jerry Rice’s record and you have the quarterback history that that man has, you can say all day how much you love Larry Fitzgerald but we all take him for granted and the rest of the NFL takes him for granted.”

Ron Wolfley: ILB De’Vondre Campbell

Why: “The most underrated Cardinal, everybody. Isaiah Simmons is the reason nobody is talking about De’Vondre Campbell, but De’Vondre Campbell is a quality inside linebacker that will help the Cardinals win games — win games to a point where Vance Joseph will have a hard time getting Campbell off the field.”

Paul Calvisi: DT Rashard Lawrence

Why: “I happened to have a one-on-one conversation with Kliff Kingsbury yesterday. I asked the head coach, ‘Is there a player we’re not talking enough about?’ … He said Rashard Lawrence.”


2nd down

Doug Franz: OL Justin Murray

Why: “For you to be two or three days away from the (2019) season started and get a call and be asked, ‘Will you please start at right tackle for us for the rest of the year?’ and then be in the battle for the right tackle spot the next year and be so important they’re trying to make you the swing tackle and a guard on gameday, I’m going to say Justin Murray.”

Ron Wolfley: OLB Devon Kennard

Why: “Chandler Jones the best edge player in the game … he doesn’t get enough recognition for that. Devon Kennard is the perfect yang to Chandler’s yin. He’s a high-motor, bring it physically kind of guy.”

Paul Calvisi: ILB Zeke Turner

Why: “Wolf’s thinking stole my De’Vondre Campbell (pick). I’m going to stick in the inside linebacker room and I’m going to go with another guy Kliff Kingsbury told me about yesterday: Zeke Turner. Zeke Turner was a guy who turned heads and opened eyes at the Red & White practice. Basically, the dude flew around and hit anything that moved, he was very physical.”


3rd down

Doug Franz: DT Corey Peters

Why: “I don’t think this is local … this is nationally underrated. When you look at the man’s intelligence, the man’s leadership and the man’s desire and the man’s ability all at the same time, and you realize there’s not a long line for autograph seekers, there’s not a long line for interview requests nationally. You talk about underrated, there’s not a defensive line room without Corey Peters.”

Ron Wolfley: DT Corey Peters

Why: “He’s the best defensive lineman the Cardinals have. Jordan Phillips is exciting, of course, and I expect real returns from him, but Corey Peters keeps it all together over the center.”

Paul Calvisi: S Jalen Thompson

Why: “Your other starting safety. Hello, do people realize he’s the other starting safety? Do you realize he came in the supplemental draft a year ago, basically had no ramp-up, had to step in, but guess what: by midseason, he had made a turn, they gave him more reps, he’s a very sure tackler in the open field. Watch him take the next step in Year 2.”


4th down

Doug Franz: ILB Jordan Hicks

Why: “The linebacker is always ready, always smart, always a gamer. You win a lot of games when you have human beings like Jordan Hicks playing for you. Because he’s not flashy, I think he’s underrated.”

Ron Wolfley: TE Maxx Williams

Why: “11-personnel … is going to be the dominant personnel grouping in run down situations. Run down, ladies and gentleman. Run down is fun down: 1st-and-10, 2nd-and-1-to-6. And what you do in run down defines who you are as an offense. Maxx Williams will allow the Arizona Cardinals to run a balance run-pass offense, and that will allow them to be successful.”

Paul Calvisi: LT D.J. Humphries

Why: “A guy who doesn’t get virtually any recognition outside the AZ and is arguably the second-most important person on the team beyond the quarterback because he protects the quarterback’s blind size. Got the big money, got the big contract, doesn’t get a lot of big talk and the dude neutralizes some of the most feared pass-rushers in the game.”


Phillips Law Group

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