CFL’s Tristan Okpalaugo to visit the Arizona Cardinals
By Erich Becker
The Arizona Cardinals continue to search for a pass rush, this time going international, again.
The Arizona Cardinals made a splash earlier this week with the signing of an Aussie Rules Football player by the name of Joel Wilkinson, now the team is looking north of the border with a visit from the Toronto Argonauts OLB/DE Tristan Okpalaugo, who just finished up a visit with the Seattle Seahawks as well.
The Cardinals have not pulled any punches during exit interviews for a season that ended just shy of the Super Bowl (very shy watching the NFC Championship Game over again) that the pass rush just wasn’t there. Even with a great secondary and linebacking core, the pass rush has to be there to pressure the QB into mistakes. So starting to look around, prior to free agency and the draft, especially when you now have a 90 man roster to work with again, seems reasonable.
Tristan Okpalaugo was not selected in the 2013 NFL draft from Fresno State, and was signed in camp as an undrafted free agent by the Miami Dolphins but failed to make the roster. He also bounced around between the practice squad of the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. He played the last two seasons in the CFL winning the East Division’s most outstanding rookie award in 2014.
According to ArizonaSports.com, in 31 games Okpalaugo has 23 sacks, five forced fumbles, two interceptions and 65 tackles.
Things were bad for the Cardinals last year in which the team leader of sacks was signed after the first month of the season and is one of the oldest players on the team.
Steve Keim and Bruce Arians will look to the draft to bring in a pass rusher rather than rely on expensive free agency unless some of that Keim magic can be extended like it was the past two seasons in signing huge additions to the offensive line.
Still, the Cardinals are looking in all the right places to find that diamond in the rough who will give them the one missing piece they need on the defensive side of the ball.