ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals among bottom half of NFL in ESPN’s future power rankings

Jul 20, 2022, 4:49 PM | Updated: 4:55 pm
(L-R) D.J. Humphries #74 and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals run onto the field before the...
(L-R) D.J. Humphries #74 and Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals run onto the field before the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals have seen their record improve year over year since head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray arrived to the organization in 2019.

But just how set up are they to continue that streak of success for the foreseeable future?

Taking into account each NFL team’s quarterback situation, remaining (non-QB) roster, drafting ability, front office and coaching over the next three seasons, NFL analysts Jeremy Fowler, Louis Riddick, Seth Walder and Field Yates ranked the Cardinals 23rd in ESPN’s future power rankings.

With an overall score of 75.2, the Cardinals landed in between the “average” and “very good” range.

It would be unfair to overlook the Cardinals’ dramatic improvement over the past three seasons since hiring coach Kliff Kingsbury and drafting QB Kyler Murray. But the Cardinals find themselves in the bottom half of this list with question marks surrounding how they have finished in recent years, as the team faded down the stretch in a major way after finishing as the last undefeated team standing midway through the 2021 season. Their short-term future is not aided by playing a division that featured the two teams in last year’s NFC Championship Game and that they’ll be without receiver DeAndre Hopkins (suspension) for the first six games of this year. — Yates

Helping bolster the score was Murray’s 83 rating (13th in the NFL), which carried a 20% weight in the scoring system.

The signal caller saw his accuracy hit new marks in 2021, completing 69.2% of his passes for 3,787 yards and 24 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.

Per NFL Next Gen Stats, the two-time Pro Bowler ranked second in completion percentage over expectation at plus-4%, another career high.

But outside of Murray’s marks, the rest of the organization found itself near the bottom, with coaching (69.3; weighted 20%), draft (72.8; 15%), front office (75.3; 15%) and overall roster minus the QB (75.3; 30%) ranking 25th or worse in the league.

The Cardinals specifically approached last offseason knowing they needed better leadership late in the season. They wanted to prevent a November/December slide that could knock them out of the playoffs or hurt their momentum heading into the playoffs. Well … the same thing happened in 2021, as they finished the season 1-5 heading into the playoffs and then got blown out in the wild-card round by the Rams. So leadership still worries me about this team going forward. Do the Cardinals have the right mix? — Riddick

As for what can change for the better, Fowler outlines protecting the team’s biggest asset in Murray.

With most of the offensive line getting older and set to test free agency next offseason, revamping the trenches could go a long way in keeping Arizona’s signal caller upright.

Improving the offensive line to help Murray should be paramount. Center Rodney Hudson is on the decline at age 33, guard Justin Pugh is a 2023 free agent, and guard Will Hernandez and right tackle Kelvin Beachum are short-term solutions. Murray’s height (5-foot-10) makes a stout, expensive offensive line crucial to his success. — Fowler

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt walks the sideline during the team's NFL football preseas...
Haboob Blog

Cardinals’ J.J. Watt encounters ‘baby rattlesnake’ in bathroom

Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt found himself in a situation many who call Arizona home never wish to be in. Or at least he thought so.
1 day ago
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) greets San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Sha...
Tom Kuebel

Kliff Kingsbury lends support for 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan in hat ‘beef’

Kliff Kingsbury tendered support for San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in his ongoing hat drama with the NFL.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Ward (29) celebrates his touchdown against the Cincinnati B...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals Corner: Arizona standouts aplenty in win over Bengals

Arizona Sports' Cardinals reporter Tyler Drake and 98.7 FM's Erik Ruby give their top standouts in the team's 36-23 win over the Bengals.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, left, talks with quarterback Kyler Murray during the ...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury ‘impressed’ with Kyler Murray’s play-calling

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury handed over play-calling duties to QB Kyler Murray in the team's 36-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
2 days ago
(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...
Tyler Drake

Victor Dimukeje, Trace McSorley pace Arizona Cardinals in rout of Bengals

Arizona Cardinals OLB Victor Dimukeje and QB Trace McSorley made the most of their opportunities in Friday's win over the Bengals.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley looks for a receiver during the team's NFL football pr...
Kellan Olson

Trace McSorley throws TD in 1st preseason drive, Cardinals beat Bengals

The Arizona Cardinals' first series of the preseason was a positive one and they never looked back from there to beat the Cincinnati Bengals.
2 days ago
Cardinals among bottom half of NFL in ESPN’s future power rankings