Dennis Gardeck has supplied the Arizona Cardinals defense with some unexpected production from the outside linebacker position
Mixed in with the winning campaign that the Arizona Cardinals are currently enjoying is one of the NFL’s most inspiring stories. The production that outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck has supplied for the squad, in limited action no less, has been nothing short of amazing. In fact, the Cards may have very well struck gold with a player that unceremoniously entered the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2018.
This past Sunday, during Arizona’s hard-fought 33-26 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Gardeck was credited with two quarterback sacks. The 26-year old now has taken opposing signal-callers to the ground seven times during the 14 games he has participated in this fall. Gardeck now holds the franchise record for most sacks in a season by an undrafted free agent, topping the 5.5 that defensive tackle Olsen Pierre registered for the Cardinals back in 2017.
What’s even more impressive about Gardeck’s feat is the fact that he has produced that number in just 94 snaps for the Cards in 2020. Besides the sacks, the 6’0, 232 pounder has also amassed eight hurries and ten hits on the opposition’s passers as well. Pro Football Focus has given Gardeck an overall grade of 89.6, which is now the highest mark on coordinator Vance Joseph‘s defensive unit.
Unfortunately, Gardeck’s solid outing against the Eagles did not end on a positive note. Late in the contest, the Illinois native was banged up, and had to be carted off of the field. As of this writing, Arizona has not yet revealed the type of injury that Gardeck is dealing with.
Up until this season, Gardeck’s role with the Cardinals had been primarily on special teams. However, the former University of Sioux Falls product is proving that he can offer so much more to a football team. The Cards can only hope that Gardeck will recover quickly from whatever knocked him out of this past weekend’s matchup with Philadelphia.