The Arizona Cardinals starting lineup could be a formidable one, but there are talented young backups on the roster as well
The media hype surrounding this year’s Arizona Cardinals squad is gaining momentum. An impressive offseason by the club’s front office has grabbed the attention of many NFL observers. Arizona’s starting lineup is loaded with talent, and a fair number of prognosticators believe that the team will be contending for a playoff spot in 2020.
But while the Cards first-string players are garnering most of the attention, there’s a bevy of talented young backups who are waiting for an opportunity to shine. General manager Steve Keim has been receiving high grades for the prospects he has added over the past couple of years. The Cardinals coaching staff may not have a role for those individuals at the moment, but each and every one of them could have a bright future ahead.
Rookie right tackle Josh Jones is certainly a part of that group. Veteran Marcus Gilbert, who signed a one-year contract back in March, is currently ahead of the third-round pick on the Cards depth chart. Jones possesses a skill-set that is through the roof, however, so Gilbert’s job may be in serious jeopardy.
Arizona was expecting big things out of Andy Isabella when they selected him during the second round of the 2019 draft. Unfortunately, the University of Massachusetts product was severely underutilized by head coach Kliff Kingsbury last fall. With a bit more playing time, there’s a very good chance that Isabella will excel in an “Air Raid” offense that appears to be tailor-made for him.
Corey Peters has been a solid presence in the middle of the Cardinals defensive line for the past several seasons. Breathing down his neck, however, is a rookie nose tackle named Leki Fotu. The fourth-round choice out of the University of Utah, a physical specimen at 6’5, 335 pounds, could soon be stealing snaps from the 31-year old Peters.
The Cards believed that they struck gold last year when they acquired offensive lineman Lamont Gaillard during the sixth round of the 2019 draft. The former University of Georgia star could give Mason Cole a run for Arizona’s starting center gig this coming summer. Gaillard is a versatile blocker, who could also be pressed into action at guard sometime during his pro career.
One last youngster worth mentioning is Eno Benjamin. The Cardinals feel they obtained an outright steal when they took the running back out of Arizona State with the 222nd pick of last month’s draft. Current starter Kenyan Drake has just a one-year deal at the time of this writing, so Benjamin could find himself carrying the rock for the Cards in the very near future.