The Arizona Cardinals frustrating search for a starting cornerback continues with yet another candidate added to the mix
Finding quality starting cornerbacks who can play in the NFL is not an easy task, just ask the Arizona Cardinals.
The latest hopeful has arrived from the Kansas City Chiefs and his name is Marcus Cooper.
It became apparent towards the end of last season that the position would need an upgrade in 2016. Justin Bethel was struggling and Jerraud Powers appeared to be hitting the wall a bit.
But still, GM Steve Keim chose to ignore the big-name free agents who became available. Sure, the salary cap was a hindrance. But there are ways to circumvent the cap, the restructuring of contracts being one of them.
Instead, the front office was under the belief that Bethel would improve. They also sat back while Powers migrated to the Windy City.
They then looked to the draft for reinforcements. Brandon Williams, a converted running back who played corner for just one season, was drafted in the third round. In the sixth round they went cornerback again, taking Southeastern Louisiana’s Harlan Miller.
Williams has looked like the inexperienced rookie that he is in the preseason, getting beat pretty consistently. While he may become a serviceable cover guy in the future, he’s obviously not ready to start right now. Miller failed to make the 53-man roster.
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Veteran help arrived during the summer when Mike Jenkins and Alan Ball were inked to one-year deals. Despite suffering a broken hand early, Jenkins returned from that and was working towards securing the starting job. That scenario ended when the 31-year old suffered a torn ACL during the team’s third preseason game.
Ball suffered a quadriceps injury early on in camp, and was subsequently released with an injury settlement.
As far as hoping for improvement from Bethel, it’s been hard to judge him to this point. Foot surgery in April has hampered his progress. He has returned but, like the rookie Williams, has failed to impress.
Latest addition Cooper’s play has trailed off the last two seasons. He did have a promising rookie year in 2013, racking up 44 tackles, 18 passes defensed and 3 picks.
It’s been said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The Cardinals are hoping Cooper can give them big returns on the small investment they made. A “diamond in the rough” if you will.
One thing is certain. If the 2016 Cardinals are gonna achieve their Super Bowl dreams, then this trouble spot must be shored up. Here’s hoping that Kansas City’s trash becomes Arizona’s treasure.