Cardinals roster questions, wild cards: Who fills out the starting rotation at ILB?

Jul 22, 2023, 10:00 AM

The Arizona Cardinals look a whole lot different than they did this time a year ago.

And with a reset in culture, coaching staff and front office comes a reset in the roster.

Each position group has undergone change this offseason, from quarterback to special teams.

There’s still plenty of time for personnel tweaks between now and training camp. But until then, let’s take a deeper dive into how the Cardinals’ roster is currently constructed.

After diving into the outside linebackers room, it’s time to take a look inside.

The Arizona Cardinals’ big roster questions: ILB

1. Who fills out the starting rotation?

Ezekiel Turner during training camp

We know Kyzir White is taking over Arizona’s MIKE backer role. That much is known.

But outside of him, there are roles to be had.

Two veteran newcomers to keep tabs on throughout training camp are Josh Woods and Krys Barnes.

Woods has seen more time during his four years in the NFL, though has seen a majority of his work as a special teamer. Compared to his 928 special teams snap, the linebacker has registered just 169 on defense.

Barnes, who entered the league a year after Woods, doesn’t have the same time on task as his counterpart behind 35 games played across three seasons. He has, however, seen more action as a defender and has three sacks and 190 tackles under his belt.

And what they both bring to the table is leadership, something that has already been on display early on in their Cardinals tenures.

“Other leaders have stepped up and done a phenomenal job,” outside linebacker Cameron Thomas said while mentioning Woods and others. “(Former leader and defensive end J.J. Watt’s) presence has been gone but with the leaders that have stepped up, I haven’t felt a dip off in leadership. If anything, I’d say we even gained leadership.”

2. Does Kyle Soelle crack a roster spot?

Kyle Soelle

Among the new faces that joined Arizona’s ranks this offseason was undrafted rookie free agent and former Arizona State Sun Devil Kyle Soelle.

Soelle, who racked up 110 tackles and two interceptions in his final season at ASU, enters training camp well versed in the franchise having grown up watching Cardinals games.

Now, he has the potential to play for the hometown team.

And how the inside linebackers room is currently constructed, with really one known starter in White, there are snaps up for grabs.

Being able to make an impact on special teams will only help Soelle secure a roster spot.

The wild Card

Owen Pappoe

Speed kills.

And linebacker Owen Pappoe has a lot of it.

The 2023 fifth-rounder out of Auburn heads to the desert after registering 91 tackles and two sacks before posting an impressive 4.39 40-yard dash time during the NFL Combine.

Based on his speed alone, he should serve as a legitimate option on special teams.

But if he can climb up the depth chart defensively, look out for the rookie to make an impact early on.

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Cardinals roster questions, wild cards: Who fills out the starting rotation at ILB?