3. The big guys on defense
Arizona’s defensive line has 2 key players heading into free agency, which mean it could lose 2 starters
The Arizona Cardinals defensive line has improved in 2016 but it doesn’t help that starters Frostee Rucker and Calais Campbell are in the final year of their contract. In 2015 the pass rush was a issue and was a key part in Steve Keim wanting to rebuild the defensive line. In the first round of the 2016 NFL draft the Cardinals selected Defensive Tackle Robert Nkemdiche.
The first round pick has only been active in a small number of games and only has recorded 3 tackles. There are 5 other defensive lineman still under contract going into 2017, and if Campbell and Rucker decided to leave the desert there could be some competition in training camp.
Who could fill the starting roles?
- Robert Nkemdiche – The rookie has only been active for 4 of the Cardinals games so far in 2016, and Coach Arians called him out for being too immature. Even though he has not been a factor like people thought he would be, Nkemdiche could step up in 2017 after a year of sitting, and could be similar to the DJ Humphries situation.
- Josh Mauro – He gets a nice number of snaps a game, and always produces with those opportunities. Through 13 games he has totaled 21 tackles and does a solid job on getting pressure on the opposing Quarterback. Plus, Bruce Arians always says he likes the toughness he plays with.
Should the Cardinals explore the position in Free agency?
Absolutely. Arizona should definitely explore their options if 2 starters decide to leave. Whether it be the Draft or Free Agency.