Arizona Cardinals Training Camp Dark Horses


Aug 30, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Northern Arizona running back Zach Bauman (34) gets tackled by Arizona Wildcats cornerback Jonathan McKnight (6) during the forth quarter at Arizona Stadium. Arizona beat Northern Arizona 35-0. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With just over a week left before the start of Arizona Cardinals training camp  at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, the talk is starting to ramp up about who we will see on the field at practice.  In all, there are 90 guys on the roster at the start of camp.  Some are locks, some are camp bodies only.  Some may be veterans expected to win a job but won’t.  Then there are some who many will not give a chance to make the final 53-man roster.

There are always a few surprises in any NFL camp.  Some stick for awhile and some prove right away when the games start for real that the preseason was just a mirage.  Here are my five guys who I believe are the dark horses to make this Cards 53-man roster in September.

Brittan Golden, WR – Golden made a couple of huge plays in his very short time on the field in the regular season in 2013.  He fought injury but his two biggest receptions of the season came against NFC West division rivals San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.  Both huge receptions came on the road to boot.  I know the Cards will eventually keep five or six receivers.  Five if they decide to keep an extra tight end.  I think Golden has a real chance to make the roster even given the improvement the Cards have added on the offensive side of the ball.

Zach Bauman, RB – I might be a little biased here with Bauman being from Northern Arizona University but this is a guy I’ve actually seen play in person.  I had the pleasure of watching him twice last season in Flagstaff.  Of course people will immediately point to his 5’7 frame and say no way this guy has a chance.  I beg to differ.  Sure he’s a smaller back but he can break contact from defenders easier than you think.  He’s a hard worker who stays upright more than not.  Watch this guy.  You’ll like what you see.

Anthony Steen, G/C – This undrafted rookie from Alabama was second team All-Southeatern Conference in 2013.  I’m quite surprised he was not drafted.  There are reasons for everything but I think this could end up being one of the better undrafted free agent pickups.

Robert Hughes, RB – I know I had Bauman as a dark horse but you can add another running back in Hughes to my list.  He’s bounced around the NFL the past couple of seasons after starting with the Chicago Bears in 2011 as an undrafted free agent.  The Cards like to carry depth at running back so someone like Hughes could make this roster.  He ran for 1,392 yards on 321 carries at Notre Dame.

Ryan Lindley, QB – Ok, I know what you are asking yourself right about now.  Is this guy crazy for putting Lindley on this list?  Maybe, maybe not.  I look at it from this perspective.  Yes, the Cards drafted Logan Thomas out of Virginia Tech in the fifth-round of the draft.  However if their plan was to go with three quarterbacks, which it most likely will be, why not just cut him now?  I know people think it’s a forgone conclusion that Lindley is out of here but I say hold the phone.  Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has stated he likes Lindley.  They could have cut him last year.  They didn’t.  They see something they like about him.  That being said if I had to put money on it, I’d say he is gone sometime in August.  I’m not ruling out a stay of execution though.