PFF’s Linsey: Arizona Cardinals have NFL’s No. 23 ranked roster for 2022

Jul 4, 2022, 12:15 PM | Updated: 12:16 pm
Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda (45) pulls away from Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Isaia...

Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda (45) pulls away from Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons (9) to score during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

The Arizona Cardinals finished the 2021 regular season with an 11-6 record and playoff birth, but Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey has the Arizona Cardinals as the No. 23 ranked roster heading into the 2022 season.

According to the site, quarterback Kyler Murray received the highest PFF grade (82.9), with running back James Conner (81.9), wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (79.8), and defensive lineman J.J. Watt (78.6) rounding out the four best Cardinals players.

The No. 23 spot earned the Cardinals a third-place ranking in the NFC West with Seattle Seahawks ranked No. 30, San Francisco 49ers No. 13 and Los Angeles Rams No. 4.

For Linsey, Arizona’s success in 2022 is clearly in the hands of the quarterback and star wideout.

Biggest strength: Over the past two seasons, Kyler Murray has completed 75% of his passes when targeting DeAndre Hopkins for a 122.5 passer rating. It’s one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos in the NFL when both players are healthy. However, both players being healthy hasn’t been a given, and Hopkins is scheduled to start the 2022 season on a six-game suspension because he violated the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. If the Cardinals do end up making a run in the NFC, it will be, in part, because that combination is back at full strength down the stretch.

Linsey also lists linebacker Isaiah Simmons as an “X factor” for 2022, stating that the top-10 pick has not quite lived up to the hype as of yet. He finished with a 49.7 grade, the lowest of any Cardinals starter.

Linsey states that he showed promise in coverage but was ineffective against the run as an every-down player, and for the Cardinals to reach their goals they will need Simmons and Zaven Collins to step up and become more reliable players.

One of the glaring issues is the production of the pass rush after the loss of Chandler Jones in free agency, but Linsey thinks that Arizona’s biggest liability lies within the cornerback room.

Biggest weakness: For a team that has had some success over the past two seasons, there are a lot of holes on this roster. Cornerback was a concern heading into last season, but the Cardinals managed to get by with a solid season from Robert Alford. He is no longer on the roster, and Arizona’s cornerback concerns remain entering 2022. Marco Wilson and Antonio Hamilton are the favorites to start alongside Byron Murphy Jr. Wilson allowed a 129.8 passer rating on throws into his coverage as a rookie last year, and Hamilton played a career-high 313 defensive snaps with Arizona in 2021.

PFF gave Murphy a 58.5 rating and Wilson a 48.6 grade for the 2021 year. Hamilton led the way with a 65.4 grade, higher than safety Budda Baker’s rating of 64.6.

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PFF’s Linsey: Arizona Cardinals have NFL’s No. 23 ranked roster for 2022