2. The pass rush
The Arizona Cardinals linebacker room is loaded with talent, except 3 starters and 2 key players could be missing in 2017
When the Arizona Cardinals said they wanted to improve their pass rush at the linebacker position, they did just that. Steve Keim brought in Chandler Jones, and Markus Golden stepped up from a promising rookie season. Both players have a combined 16 sacks and 88 tackles.
They also have had help from Kevin Minter, $LB Deone Buccanon, Kareem Martin and Alex Okafor. What has been a great year at the position could change heading into 2017. As Jones, Okafor, Minter and new starter Sio Moore are heading into free agency. If the Cardinals are going to make a run in 2017 they need this position to produce like it has this season.
Who could fill the starting roles?
- Kareem Martin – The 3rd year outside linebacker could make the switch to the right side if Chandler Jones leaves Arizona. Martin steps in nicely as the back up to Markus Golden, and has totaled 5 tackles and a sack. With more snaps a game and a whole off season to prepare, Martin could be a starter.
- Scooby Wright – Even though he’s played in 1 game and not 1 defensive snap, the newly acquired rookie linebacker could be a solid fill in if the Cardinals decide to keep him. Coach Arians wanted to bring him in before he got drafted in the 7th round, and If Wright could translate his college success to the NFL he could make some noise.
Should the Cardinals explore the position in free agency?
Yes. Even though there is a ton of talent in the Linebacker room, the Cardinals should probably look for a proven veteran in free agency or rookie in the draft.