Arizona Cardinals could have a better-than-advertised defensive line for 2023
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals pass rush unit could be better than many are predicting in 2023, even if they added just one piece to the puzzle.
The Arizona Cardinals could snag Will Anderson Jr with the third overall pick, or per my latest mock draft, they could trade down with the Indianapolis Colts and take him fourth overall. But although the Cards would love a boost in, or in Anderson’s case, around the trenches, the defensive line may not be all that bad in 2023.
Sure, Rashard Lawrence and Leki Fotu will get gashed repeatedly if something isn’t done about the defensive tackle position, and that’s a given. However, for defensive end, even if the Cards go with a 4-3 front, it could be pretty promising.
Why? Because we are all forgetting about Myjai Sanders and Cam Thomas, two players who would be defensive ends in a 4-3 alignment.
Arizona Cardinals defensive line could be better than you think in 2023
No, neither Thomas nor Sanders played lights out in 2022. But Thomas racked up three sacks and 18 combined tackles in 236 defensive snaps. Meanwhile, Sanders also logged three sacks, and 23 stops in just 259 snaps. Not all-world, but they also showed more than enough upside.
This year, with Zach Allen and J.J. Watt gone, expect Thomas and Sanders to boast even more productivity as their playing time increases. Look for the duo to become, at worst, rotational pieces if the Cards trade down further and roll with another talent like Tyree Wilson.
Regardless, we do know that this team has obvious faith in Thomas and Sanders, or else they would have done more to address the defensive line. Given Thomas’ and Sanders’ respective performances last season, don’t be surprised if the duo, along with a potential incoming talent, play better than advertised. Now they just need to worry about fixing the defensive interior.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)