The Arizona Cardinals did the right thing in cutting defensive tackle Jordan Phillips loose, but they still face a gaping hole at defensive tackle.
In 2020, the Arizona Cardinals seemingly had three fixtures at defensive tackle: Jordan Phillips and then-rookies Leki Fotu and Rashard Lawrence. Phillips has since returned to the Buffalo Bills while Fotu and Lawrence toiled as underachieving interior defensive linemen.
With what they have left on their roster after Phillips’ departure, the Cardinals need to upgrade their defensive tackle position in both free agency and the NFL Draft.
Earlier in the month, I wrote Georgia’s Jordan Davis would be a great option for the Cardinals if he’s there at the No. 23 overall pick. That’s if they decide to upgrade their defense early in the draft, which will allow inside linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins to converge. Especially with a guy like Davis gobbling up opponents’ interior offensive line.
Arizona Cardinals need to sign at least two more defensive tackles this offseason
Right now, Fotu and Lawrence are the only two defensive tackles on the roster, and the Cardinals need at least two more bodies to fill the void. Davis can be one of them if the Cardinals go that route. But they also need to look to free agency.
Akiem Hicks jumps out more than anyone else. At 6-foot-5, 332 pounds, Hicks is large enough to take on double-teams in a 3-4 defense. He can also at least serve as a part-time starter while someone like Davis or another draftee adjusts to the NFL.
Calais Campbell and Sheldon Richardson are both good options if the Cardinals want versatility. They are not your typical interior defensive tackles, best suited at end or even on the edge in a 3-4. But, they would be solid stopgaps for any defensive rotation capable of playing multiple positions.
Regardless of their smaller sizes, both would serve as better options than Lawrence and Fotu. Fotu has been the more disappointing of the two 2020 draft picks, scoring a fringe 39.7 grade from Pro Football Focus.
Lawrence actually scored a solid 62.7 grade. However, he has made just 20 regular-season appearances with the Cardinals and has spent time on injured reserve in each of his first two seasons.