The Arizona Cardinals are hoping that third-round selection Zach Allen will be the defensive line’s newest superstar
The Arizona Cardinals’ defensive line is in desperate need of a personality transplant. For the past couple of seasons, the squad’s front wall has lacked intriguing characters. The Cards have a rookie, however, who could potentially add some interest to the group.
Third-round draft pick Zach Allen has both the skill-set and flair to become Arizona’s next defensive superstar. The team has been devoid of such an individual since the retirement of Darnell Dockett and the free agent departure of Calais Campbell. Could Allen mimic what those two electrifying performers did for the Cardinals for years?
Dockett’s fascinating career in the desert lasted for 10 seasons, ending officially in 2016. Controversy followed the three-time Pro Bowler almost everywhere he went, both on and off the field. Dockett was one heck of a defensive tackle as well, racking up 459 tackles, 40.5 sacks, four interceptions and 18 passes defensed during his time in the NFL.
Campbell’s “gentle giant” persona and Reggie White-sounding voice endeared himself to Cards’ fans for nine entertaining campaigns. The free agent defensive end left for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017 after getting lowballed by Arizona’s front office. It was reported that general manager Steve Keim offered Campbell $9 million per year, an amount that was significantly less than the $15 million per season he signed for in Jacksonville.
The Cardinals were hoping that they had found a viable successor for Dockett and Campbell during the first round of the 2016 draft. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is a captivating character who unfortunately has made the news more for his off-the-field antics. The former Ole Miss standout fell from a fourth-floor window and was charged with marijuana possession while at the school, and was arrested twice for traffic violations just last month.
Allen’s nonstop motor helped get him noticed during the four years he spent at Boston College. The Cards’ front office was thrilled to be able to land the defensive end with the 65th selection, despite the fact that they had him rated in the top 25. Moments after being drafted, Allen told Keim that he was “ready to (expletive) some people up” when he takes the field for Arizona this coming fall.
There’s now fresh new hope with Allen. The defense can use an infusion of spectacular play, character and leadership on their front line. Perhaps Allen will bring all of that and more to the Cardinals for years to come.