An unheralded player named Olsen Pierre came out of nowhere and was a pleasant surprise for the Arizona Cardinals’ defense
The Arizona Cardinals would have to admit it hurt. Losing a player of Calais Campbell’s caliber left a void that they had to know would be hard to fill. There’s a defensive lineman, however, who’s performance in 2017 may have opened some eyes.
Olsen Pierre, a Chicago Bears’ discovery back in 2015, is trying hard to make the Cards forget Campbell, their former defensive end. That’s most likely an impossible task, considering the fact that Campbell is one of Arizona’s all-time greatest defenders. But perhaps in his attempts to do so, Pierre can carve out a niche in Cardinals’ history for himself.
Pierre’s road to the NFL hasn’t been aligned with gold. A late-training camp release of the Bears back in ’15, the former undrafted free agent sat in limbo for two months. It was then that Pierre received a phone call from the Cards, inviting him to join their practice squad.
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Arizona made no use of the 6’4″, 293 pounder in 2016. Even so, management saw something in Pierre that they liked, keeping him aboard with a one-year, $540 thousand dollar contract for 2017. A deal that certainly turned out to be a bargain.
In 14 appearances this past season, Pierre registered 30 tackles, two passes defensed and five and a half quarterback sacks. While defensive teammates such as Chandler Jones, Patrick Peterson and others garnered the headlines, Pierre quietly was impressive. He routinely showed up in opponent’s backfields throughout ’17, blowing up plays.
Pierre has undoubtedly earned a spot on the Cardinals’ defensive line going forward. The 26-year old is an “exclusive-rights” free agent, meaning he can negotiate only with his current club. It’s a good bet that Pierre will be tendered by the Cards when the free agency period begins.
If general manager Steve Keim does show the faith in Pierre to do so, it’s well-deserved. Arizona needed someone on the defensive front to step up this past year. A “diamond in the rough” named Pierre just so happened to be up to the challenge.