Arizona’s six franchise cornerstones
Perhaps it’s because the Cardinals are on the lower end of the league spectrum when it comes to popularity. For example, it’s easy to overrate teams like the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, and other historically dominant teams, even if they were to lack legitimate franchise cornerstones.
That said, one doesn’t think of Arizona when it comes to a star-studded roster with enough franchise cornerstones for a hexagon. But let’s beg to differ here. The Cardinals have a quarterback coming off of his first Pro Bowl season in just his second year in the NFL in Kyler Murray.
DeAndre Hopkins is, at worst, a top-three receiver in football. Plus, Arizona now has a center rated as the best in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. And that doesn’t even include guys like D.J. Humphries, who also received one of the top PFF grades for an offensive tackle.
People also forget the name Chandler Jones. Jones had just one sack when he went down about a quarter of the way through the 2020 season with a biceps injury, which paved the way for Haason Reddick (now with the Carolina Panthers) and Dennis Gardeck. Jones is not even two years removed from his status as one of the NFL leaders in sacks.
Budda Baker was perhaps the best player on the team and one of few to have garnered league-wide recognition. The All-Pro safety has set the modern-day standard at the position and his game-changing talent shifted the tide more than a few times in 2020.
And while names like A.J. Green and J.J. Watt have seen better days, at least there was a time where they graced the list of the NFL’s best. Watt still delivered at a high level in 2020, even if his overall sacks, hurries, and tackles for losses declined.