A couple of underwhelming offseason additions may not be enough to make the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive line a viable unit
The Arizona Cardinals’ defense has been the beneficiary of some fairly impressive roster additions over the past few months. Veterans like Terrell Suggs and Jordan Hicks should add a spark to the squad’s linebackers group. Talented cover guys like Robert Alford and Byron Murphy could potentially provide a significant upgrade for the Cardinals’ secondary.
But while those acquisitions appear to be solid ones, there’s another area that may not have been addressed sufficiently. Arizona has added a couple of pieces to the defensive line, but neither has received high grades from the league’s evaluators.
Back in March, free agent Darius Philon was signed to a two-year, $10 million deal by the team. The defensive end, a sixth-round pick back in 2015, has spent the past four seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers. Philon has 80 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 19 career starts on his NFL resume.
In late April, the Cards’ front office looked to the draft for some help at the spot. Zach Allen, a third-round selection, put up some outstanding numbers during his four campaigns with the Boston College Eagles. The defensive end racked up 199 tackles,16.5 sacks, two interceptions and 14 passes defensed in 37 games for the school.
Philon and Allen are both good players, but are either Pro Bowl material? The former Charger has been mediocre at best as a professional, and the rookie is nothing but a question mark at this point. Philon and Allen will join a defensive line crew that includes names like Corey Peters, Rodney Gunter, Robert Nkemdiche, Pasoni Tasini and Michael Dogbe, another first-year performer.
If Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim is willing to make a splash, there’s a difference-making free agent still available. Ndamukong Suh registered 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks and an outstanding 19 quarterback hits for the Los Angeles Rams last season. Acquiring the five-time Pro Bowler would raise an already good Arizona defense to an elite level.
The Cards’ defensive line has never recovered from allowing Calais Campbell to walk two years ago. Adding a player of Suh’s caliber would certainly help the club in 2019. Keim may believe that the reinforcements he’s added to the front line are adequate, but the organization certainly could’ve done better.