Top 3 Arizona Cardinals who exceeded expectations so far in 2022
By Sion Fawkes
Sitting at 4-8, there is little to love about the Arizona Cardinals 2022 season. Though a few players have so far performed well above expectations.
When you are 4-8, you immediately want to fast-forward to March 2023 when the new league year begins. Or if you live where I do, you want to fast-forward to March every year just to avoid the cold, gray, short days that plague November, December, and January.
But you also find some hope here, and even at 4-8, the Arizona Cardinals did have some things move in the right direction, like players who performed better than we would have thought. Below, you will find three of them. And by the way, are NOT named DeAndre Hopkins or Budda Baker.
1 – J.J. Watt
While Watt is no longer the Pro Bowl-caliber player he once was, he has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance this season with the Arizona Cardinals. So far, he has 6.5 sacks, his most since he logged 16.5 in 2018.
Watt also has eight tackles behind the line, five passes deflected, and 16 quarterback hits. If he keeps up his high-octane pace, Watt will end the season with 9.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 23 quarterback hits. It’s safe to say that he’s not a shell of his former self just yet.
2 – Zach Allen
No, Allen has not enjoyed a breakout season, but he has a new career-high of 4.5 sacks, 45 combined tackles, and nine tackles behind the line. He also has 18 quarterback hits with a solid five games to go in the season.
If Allen keeps this up, he will end the year with 6.5 sacks, 64 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, and 26 quarterback hits. Allen is well on his way to enjoying Pro Bowl-like numbers sooner than later. And if he gets his sack total up, he will get there.
3 – Zaven Collins
Just about everyone had written off Zaven Collins as Steve Keim’s latest draft bust. While Collins’ play has not been incredible, it has also shown he’s no draft bust. At least not in 2022. He currently has 74 combined tackles, a pick six, two sacks, and seven tackles behind the line.
This puts him on pace for 104 stops, three sacks, and 10 tackles for loss. If he hits the century mark in combined tackles and remains consistent in other avenues, Collins could be in store for a huge season in 2023.
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