Steve Keim, the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals, is constantly on the lookout for talented players. Last September, just days before the season-opener, the club’s high-ranked executive made an addition to the defensive line. An under-the-radar signing by Keim and his cohorts that is certainly worthy of praise.
Angelo Blackson, a seventh-year defensive end, proved to be a good fit for the Cards during the 2020 campaign. In 16 games (nine starts), the 28-year old contributed 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits for the squad. Blackson’s performance last fall happened to be the best work he has done since he entered the league back in 2015.
Six years ago, the Tennessee Titans selected Blackson in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. As a rookie, the 6’4, 319 pounder totaled 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 16 appearances. The following season, Blackson recorded just nine tackles in 13 contests (one start) for the Titans.
In 2017, Blackson signed with the Houston Texans, and would spend the next three years with that organization. In 40 matchups (20 starts) with the team, the Delaware native registered 53 tackles, a sack and four passes defensed. Blackson was cut by the Texans on September 5th of last year, only to be picked up by Arizona three days later.
Blackson is part of a Cardinals defensive line group that includes Jordan Phillips, Zach Allen, Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence, Michael Dogbe, Shareef Miller and David Parry. The former Auburn University product has one year remaining on a contract that will pay him $910,000 next fall.
The acquisition of Blackson last year came out of nowhere, but defensive coordinator Vance Joseph managed to utilize the player’s skill-set. With a full offseason under his belt, the veteran should be even more effective this season. Blackson looked comfortable with the role he assumed with the Cards last fall, and it’s possible that the coaching staff will give him even more playing time in 2021.