PFF’s Sam Monson lends 3 bold, positive Cardinals predictions

Aug 12, 2022, 11:50 AM

Not everyone is caught up in the Arizona Cardinals’ tumble in the second half of last year, nor a newsworthy offseason for mostly the wrong reasons.

Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson lies in quite the optimistic camp regarding Arizona in his exercise of making bold predictions for every NFC West club.

It’s because if you look at the team on paper, there’s at least reason to be excited by the Cardinals’ chances if they can remain somewhat healthy.

Monson believes the team can surpass Vegas’ 8.5 over/under win total this season. Arizona’s success could be buoyed by second-year players Zaven Collins and Rondale Moore taking significant steps forward.

This offseason has been an unusually bad one from Arizona’s perspective in terms of PR. The mood surrounding the team is poor because of the way their seasons have ended, but zoom out and the team has taken big strides in the right direction every year under Kliff Kingsbury.

Monson believes Collins could end 2022 with a top-10 linebacker grade.

That’s probably the author’s boldest take considering Collins struggled to see the field last year, finishing with 25 tackles and three passes defensed with 2.5 stuffs.

The first-round pick played 220 defensive snaps, missing a good chunk of regular playing time as he dealt with an injury down the home stretch.

Collins wasn’t without fault when he was on the field, but overall he made an impact, particularly against the run. He read that part of the game quickly and decisively got into position. He flashed enough impact skills that he could easily end Year 2 with a top-10 grade at the position.

Moore’s ascension seems more cut-and-dry. He flashed in a unique role last year but should be deployed as a regular feature of the offense with Christian Kirk vacating his starting slot receiver role.

He is capable of being far more than a gimmick, and if the team embraces that this season, 100 targets is very achievable. In his rookie season, he saw 64 passes come his way, catching 54 of them.

Moore was used much more horizontally than vertically in terms of stretching defenses.

With that, he put together a wildly unique season from a statistical perspective. The second-round pick from 2021 was No. 1 league-wide in catch percentage (84%) and average separation (5.7 yards) because he often caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, according to NextGenStats.

That also led him to finish last in targeted air yards (1.1) and the total percentage share of his team’s air yards (1.7%). Because Moore still posted 54 catches for 435 yards, he averaged 8.4 yards after the catch, fourth-best in the NFL, according to NextGenStats.

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