The Arizona Cardinals front office acquired a set of intriguing substitutes for their defensive line during the offseason
The Arizona Cardinals 2019 roster, from top to bottom, is not a very deep one. Too many wasted draft picks by the club’s front office has taken a toll on the squad’s overall talent level. Keeping their starters healthy is imperative if the Cards have any hopes of making the playoffs this year.
One position that Arizona general manager Steve Keim did manage to add some solid depth to over the offseason was the defensive line. This year’s third-round selection, defensive end Zach Allen, was also supposed to be a backup. However, the release of free agent pickup Darius Philon back in August elevated the former Boston College Eagle into the Cardinals starting lineup.
The number-one substitute to starters Allen, Corey Peters and Rodney Gunter is free agent pickup Clinton McDonald. A veteran of nine professional campaigns, the 32-year old will be suiting up for his fifth NFL franchise when he takes the field for the Cards. McDonald has racked up 279 tackles, 21 sacks, two interceptions and 46 quarterback hits in 112 career appearances (37 starts).
One of the pleasant surprises of the preseason was Miles Brown, an undrafted rookie free agent. The 6’2, 320 pound nose tackle out of tiny Wofford College came out of nowhere to obtain a job with Arizona. Brown tallied 174 tackles (38 for loss) and 13.5 sacks during his four seasons at the school.
Another rookie, seventh-round choice Michael Dogbe, also landed a gig with the Cardinals. It was his outstanding performance as a senior at Temple University that got the defensive end noticed by pro scouts. Dogbe registered 72 tackles and seven sacks in 2018 for the Owls.
Jonathan Bullard, a third-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears in 2016, was claimed off of the waiver wire by the Cards last weekend. The 6’3, 290 pounder, who played his college ball at the University of Florida, was a First Team All-SEC selection in 2015. Bullard totaled 62 tackles (nine for loss), two sacks and five quarterback hits in 46 appearances (five starts) for the Bears.
The additions that were made to the defensive line by Keim and company over the past several months deserve praise. Arizona’s defense took a huge step backwards last season. Perhaps the recent work that was done by the personnel department will help get the unit back on track in 2019.