Pair of Miami edge rushers could tempt the Arizona Cardinals
Back in October, the defensive unit of the Arizona Cardinals had to deal with some devastating news. Chandler Jones, the squad’s star edge-rusher, have suffered a torn biceps during a victory over the New York Jets. The injury was a significant one that would sideline the three-time Pro Bowler for the remainder of the 2020 campaign.
Jones has one more year remaining on the lucrative contract he signed back in 2017, but the 10th-year veteran certainly isn’t getting any younger. It may be time for the Arizona front office to start thinking about an infusion of youth at the outside linebacker position. The franchise is armed with the 16th-overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, and could very well use that selection to reinforce their pass rush.
It just so happens that the University of Miami has not one, but two edge rushers who could be opening-round options for the Cardinals. Talented defenders who could be groomed by the team to be insurance for the uncertain future of the 30-year old Jones.
Gregory Rousseau could very well be the cream of the crop of this year’s pass-rushing prospects. The 20-year old opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, but his performance in 2019 was an eye-opener. In 13 games as a freshman, Rousseau totaled 54 tackles (19.5 for a loss) and an impressive 15.5 sacks for the Hurricanes.
The other member of the Miami duo is Jaelan Phillips, a 21-year old junior. The 6’5, 255 pounder played in two campaigns for the UCLA Bruins before transferring to Miami in February of ’19. In 10 appearances this past fall, Phillips racked up 45 tackles (15.5 for a loss), eight sacks, an interception and three passes defensed.
Some other outside linebackers who are currently on the Cards roster include Devon Kennard, Dennis Gardeck and Reggie Walker. Two others, Haason Reddick and Markus Golden, have expiring deals. What transpires with those two individuals could go a long way in determining whether either Rousseau or Phillips will be targeted by the Arizona brass in April.