NFL.com’s Patra ranks Cardinals’ cornerbacks among weakest rooms in league
The Arizona Cardinals enter training camp with a few question marks personnel-wise on the defensive side of the ball, notably at pass rusher and middle linebacker following the departures of Chandler Jones and Jordan Hicks.
While fans around the state may think those are the leading candidates in the questions department, NFL.com’s Kevin Patra ranked the biggest remaining holes around every team’s position group and had the Cardinals’ cornerback room as the fourth biggest roster hole in the league.
Surprisingly, the Cardinals didn’t address the cornerback position until the seventh round of the draft, selecting Christian Matthew, despite a need at the position. The tragic death of Jeff Gladney, who signed with Arizona in March, exacerbated the Cards’ concerns on the back end. Alongside Byron Murphy sits a big question mark. Arizona is counting on Marco Wilson to make significant strides after struggling as a rookie. The Cards faltered down the stretch last season, allowing 30-plus points in four of their final six games (including the playoffs). With Chandler Jones no longer harassing QBs for the team, even more pressure is on a secondary with question marks heading toward camp.
Arizona’s cornerback trio of Robert Alford, Byron Murphy Jr. and Marco Wilson ranked No. 21 in PFF’s final cornerback rankings, but No. 26 in outside coverage for the 2021 season.
Murphy made 64 tackles and set career marks with four interceptions and 12 passes defended across 16 starts.
Wilson recorded 48 tackles, four passes defended and two forced fumbles over 14 games played during his rookie campaign. He was thrust into a starting role when Malcolm Butler suddenly retired ahead of last season. Butler is now a member of the New England Patriots.
The team also re-signed Antonio Hamilton who notched 38 tackles, four passes defended and one fumble recovery over 17 games (two starts). With Alford still testing free agency, Hamilton is the likely candidate to take over the third CB spot.
Patra ranks the Baltimore Ravens’ edge rushers (No. 3), the San Francisco 49ers’ centers (No. 2) and the Los Angeles Rams’ edge rushers (No. 1) as the only groups with bigger flaws than the Cardinals’ corners.