5 most improved Arizona Cardinals during the 2021 season

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Christian Kirk
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Christian Kirk /
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Arizona Cardinals
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Isaiah Simmons /

Isaiah Simmons – LB

Isaiah Simmons may be the team’s most improved player. While he earned a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie Team following the 2020 season, he didn’t start performing well until Week 8. This season, Simmons was a force at inside linebacker, logging 105 tackles and four forced fumbles.

Simmons still needs to converge better and make plays closer to the line of scrimmage, but he’s proven to be a sure tackler whose seven pass deflections also show that he plays well in coverage. Overall, he’s evolving into that multiple-position player the Cardinals envisioned.

If Simmons takes one more leap in 2022, he will contend for his first Pro Bowl appearance. Especially if he can make a few more plays behind the line. And if 2021 showed any indication of the kind of leap he can make, expect him to grow even more next season and become a leader on the defense.