The Arizona Cardinals head into the 2022 NFL campaign with a group of edge-rushers that are chock-full of question marks.
The NFL’s opening weekend is now just days away, and the latest Arizona Cardinals roster appears to be set. However, pressing questions remain concerning the departure of superstar Chandler Jones and the team’s overall ability to generate pressure on the opposition’s signal-callers.
When free agency got underway back in March, the only transaction that addressed the squad’s pass-rushing issue in any way involved fifth-year pro Dennis Gardeck. The 28-year old, who’s seven career quarterback sacks all took place during the 2020 campaign, signed a three-year contract extension to remain with the Cards.
Pass rusher remains a huge question mark for the Arizona Cardinals heading into the 2022-23 NFL Season.
With no Pro Bowl edge-rusher to speak of, Arizona will lean heavily this coming season on eighth-year veteran Markus Golden. The 31-year old, who has 44.5 sacks on his professional resume, racked up 11 QB takedowns a year ago with the explosive Jones drawing a ton of attention on the opposite edge.
One of the most pleasant surprises of the preseason was Victor Dimukeje, a sixth-round draft pick of the Cardinals last year. The 6 foot 265 pounder flashed exciting pass-rushing potential when he registered a pair of sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals back on August 12th.
In a move that could be considered somewhat of a surprise, the Cards handed ninth-year linebacker Devon Kennard his walking papers on the league’s final cutdown day. The 31-year old, who has since been added to the organization’s practice squad, struggled to live up to the three-year, $20 million deal he inked with the Redbirds back in ’20.
Youngsters being counted on to contribute to Arizona Cardinals practice squad
After electing to pass on a bevy of free agent sack-specialists, Arizona general manager Steve Keim turned to this past April’s draft to reinforce the position. The franchise was armed with two third-round selections, both of which were used on edge-rushing prospects.
With the draft’s 87th-overall choice, the Cardinals went with San Diego State University standout Cameron Thomas. The 22-year old opened some eyes last weekend when he was credited with a pair of sacks (and almost a third) during a 26-23 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Thirteen picks after landing Thomas, the Cards went out and grabbed the University of Cincinnati’s Myjai Sanders with the 100th-overall selection. The 6 foot 5, 255 pounder totaled just one half of a sack during the three preseason matchups, but a promising training camp has the coaching staff predicting a rosy future for the rangy Sanders.
Arizona’s pass-rushing depth is certainly nothing to write home about without a dominant rusher like Jones in the mix. Hopefully, the situation on the edge is not dire enough to prevent the Cardinals from making a second-consecutive postseason appearance when the 2022 schedule is over in January.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)