Roster bubble candidates for the 2018 Arizona Cardinals
There are several members of the Arizona Cardinals who could quite possibly be battling for roster spots during training camp
Each and every summer, the Arizona Cardinals have tough personnel decisions to make. Letting go of players can be an awkward, uncomfortable chore. Anyone who has watched various members of the NFL get shown their walking papers on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series can attest to that.
There are several Cardinals in particular who could be fighting to remain with the team come training camp. New pieces are added to the puzzle every offseason. Free agents and rookies flock to the desert annually, hoping to take jobs from those who may not be performing the way the organization expects them to.
Just two years ago, J.J. Nelson appeared to have a bright future ahead of him with Arizona. But a drop in production, combined with a plethora of dropped passes last season, have lowered the wide receiver’s stock. There’s a bunch of competition at wideout this offseason, so a poor showing in camp could hurt Nelson’s chances of remaining with the Cards.
Robert Nkemdiche, a first-round draft pick in 2016, has failed to live up to his billing. Perhaps it’s a stretch to state that the defensive tackle’s roster spot is in danger, but maybe it should be. The Cardinals’ lack of depth at the position may prevent the “Ole Miss” product from being jettisoned, but Nkemdiche clearly needs to step up his game.
Mentioning Chad Williams among this group may also seem ridiculous, considering that the pass-catcher has had just one campaign to prove himself. However, the third-round pick dressed for just six games in 2017, contributing only three receptions for 31 yards. It’s probably a longshot that Williams would get released, but the wide receiver will need to convince the club he’s worth keeping around.
Quite a few observers believed that Evan Boehm would overtake A.Q. Shipley for the starting center job. That’s hasn’t happened, and now 2016’s fourth-round pick has been relegated to backup guard status. The selection of center/tackle Mason Cole during the third round of last month’s draft may make Boehm expendable.
Free agent quarterback Mike Glennon was acquired as insurance for brittle starter Sam Bradford. But now that Arizona has highly-touted rookie Josh Rosen on board, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Chicago Bear may not be as necessary to retain. Glennon’s salary won’t jive with being the third-best passer on the depth chart, so undrafted free agent Chad Kanoff could push the 28-year old out the door.
The trade that brought Jamar Taylor to the Cards could spell doom for third-year cornerback Brandon Williams. The 2016 third-round pick was been given opportunities to shine, but the former college running back has failed to nail down the number-two cover guy post. Because of a couple of new additions at corner (Bene Benwikere and Chris Campbell), Williams’ roster spot is anything but guaranteed going forward.
Next: Jermaine Gresham: Dark horse fantasy candidate
With a brand new coaching staff comes new ideas. Head coach Steve Wilks and his assistants have no ties to anyone mentioned in this article. How that fact will affect the future of those players with the Cardinals remains to be seen.