The cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson will once again be a question mark for the Arizona Cardinals this offseason
Fans of the Arizona Cardinals couldn’t help but be worried heading into this past offseason. Besides Patrick Peterson, the cornerback position was looking pretty bleak. Help was needed in a big way.
The corners were badly exposed last January in the postseason. Veteran Jerraud Powers was showing signs of slowing down. Justin Bethel, though signed to an extension last December, wasn’t cutting the mustard.
Reinforcements needed to be acquired. General manager Steve Keim’s attempts at solving the problem weren’t great. Therefore, the Cards will again enter another offseason in search of players who can cover.
Brandon Williams, a converted running back who played cornerback during his senior year at Texas A&M, was drafted. The third-round pick was handed the job in training camp only to get toasted once the games began. The selection looked like a reach back in April, and Williams could very well turn out to be a bust.
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A last-minute trade in early September brought Marcus Cooper to the Valley of the Sun. He started out well, but has looked mediocre at best lately. He’s scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and the jury is still out on whether to re-sign him.
Seattle Seahawks castoff Tharold Simon is intriguing. Acquired off the waiver wire early in the season, the LSU product has played sparingly. He has great size (6’3″, 205), and is just 25 years old. He’s also an unrestricted free agent, but could probably be re-signed for reasonable money.
Tyrann Mathieu could excel as a slot cornerback if he could only stay healthy. Bethel has great value on special teams, but should never play another down at corner. Another unrestricted free agent, veteran Mike Jenkins, was having a nice camp before tearing his ACL during the preseason.
Arizona could look for help in the draft, but that’s always a crap shoot. If they want a sure thing, they should look no further than Los Angeles Rams’ unrestricted free agent, Trumaine Johnson. Problem is, he was slapped with the franchise tag this past offseason, and the Rams could do so again.
The dilemma needs to be solved before the start of the 2017 season. Other deficiencies on defense can be covered up to a degree. But a weakness at the cornerback position could prove disastrous in today’s pass-happy NFL.