Cardinals’ 53-man roster prediction ahead of cutdown day
Aug 27, 2023, 11:37 AM
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
With the Arizona Cardinals’ 18-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday wrapping up their preseason slate, it’s almost time to turn our attention to the regular season.
But first, cuts must be made.
The Cardinals have until Tuesday to trim down to their initial 53-man roster ahead of their Week 1 battle against the Washington Commanders. Keyword there is “initial.” A lot can change in a week when an influx of cuts across the league happen all at once.
With the help of training camp, preseason play and other factors at play, here’s a prediction of what the roster could look like when the 1 p.m. MST deadline rolls around Tuesday.
Arizona Cardinals 2023 53-man roster prediction
– Colt McCoy
– Josh Dobbs
– Clayton Tune
The Dobbs trade told me two things: Tune isn’t ready to take over the starting role and quarterback Kyler Murray is trending toward starting the season on the physically unable to perform list.
If the latter happens, that means Murray won’t count against the 53-man roster until he is activated, allowing the Cardinals to keep a third QB.
Don’t get me wrong, David Blough had a strong preseason, but with McCoy’s status with the first team, Arizona burning a fifth-rounder for Dobbs and Tune a rookie the franchise can mold, he’s the odd man out.
Running back (3)
– James Conner
– Keaontay Ingram
– Corey Clement
Marlon Mack would have been included here had he not gotten injured.
Ingram appears to have a grasp on the RB2 role behind Conner.
Clement could certainly challenge Ingram for touches, though, especially coming off a strong preseason finale showing.
Wide receiver (6)
– Marquise “Hollywood” Brown
– Rondale Moore
– Michael Wilson
– Zach Pascal
– Greg Dortch
– Andre Baccellia
The wide receivers room was one of the easiest to fill out, with the top five options all seemingly locked in.
That is unless you are talking about the sixth spot in the room.
While Davion Davis and Daniel Arias are two names that could be in the running for the final spot, Baccellia brings added familiarity and had his moments during preseason play.
Tight end (4)
– Zach Ertz
– Trey McBride
– Geoff Swaim
– Noah Togiai
In a run-heavy offense, big-bodied pass catchers that can block are needed in abundance.
That’s why four tight ends crack the initial 53-man roster led by Ertz.
McBride should command the second tight end role, though he has dealt with injury this training camp.
Togiai meanwhile was a standout for most of training camp, showing off his hands more than he had previously in his career.
Swaim on the other hand brings another veteran presence who has worked with general manager Monti Ossenfort in the past.
Offensive line (9)
– D.J. Humphries
– Elijah Wilkinson
– Hjalte Froholdt
– Will Hernandez
– Paris Johnson Jr.
– Kelvin Beachum
– Dennis Daley
– Jon Gaines II
– Marquis Hayes
This could very well change depending on the injury statuses of Jon Gaines II (knee) and Dennis Daley (ankle), both of whom prematurely left Saturday’s win over the Vikings.
What I do know is this: Humphries, Wilkinson, Froholdt, Hernandez and Johnson are your Week 1 starters down in the trenches.
Defensive line (6)
– L.J. Collier
– Jonathan Ledbetter
– Carlos Watkins
– Dante Stills
– Kevin Strong
– Leki Fotu
While the starting OL appears concrete, the same can’t be said for the other side of the line of scrimmage.
Of the six that crack the prediction, only two are returning names in Ledbetter and Fotu.
Rashard Lawrence could very well command one of the roster spots, but given his preseason usage and injury history, he’s on the outside looking in for this exercise.
Outside linebacker (5)
– Zaven Collins
– Dennis Gardeck
– Cameron Thomas
– BJ Ojulari
– Jesse Luketa
Luketa’s willingness to play multiple positions Saturday gave him the edge over fellow pass rusher Victor Dimukeje.
There is one glaring name missing here, though, in second-year pro Myjai Sanders.
The linebacker injured his hand early on into training camp and appeared to fall behind as practices went on.
Inside linebacker (5)
– Kyzir White
– Josh Woods
– Krys Barnes
– Owen Pappoe
– Ezekiel Turner
White and Woods figure to be starting options on the inside, while the other three bring valuable special teams abilities to the room.
– Marco Wilson
– Kei’Trel Clark
– Christian Matthew
– Antonio Hamilton Sr.
– Kris Boyd
Wilson is the biggest lock in the room, though he’s not alone.
Clark shot up the depth chart this offseason. It’s not out of the realm of possibility he starts come Week 1.
Hamilton can play multiple spots and has added special teams value, as does Boyd.
Matthew got a ton of first-team reps this training camp and should be in the mix as weekly contributor.
– Budda Baker
– Jalen Thompson
– Jovante Moffatt
– Andre Chachere
The Cardinals could very well deploy a lot of three-safety sets, making four a necessity for depth.
Thompson can also serve as a slot corner if need be.
Special teams (3)
– Matt Prater
– Nolan Cooney
– Aaron Brewer
No surprises here. Lock these three in.