Arizona Cardinals: One bold prediction for eight notable players

NFLPA Rookie Premiere Portrait Session
NFLPA Rookie Premiere Portrait Session / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals may not have the most talented roster in football. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few players who won’t exceed wild expectations.

The Arizona Cardinals have a young football team, so their most notable players this season may not be Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, or Budda Baker. While some of us may not want to admit it, they are leftovers from the “old regime” led by former general manager, Steve Keim. 

And to be frank, none of their futures are set in stone beyond this season, or even here in 2023. So today’s list won’t focus on the old, but instead, the newer players on the team, plus one seasoned veteran. Keep reading to discover what we think the following players can accomplish in 2023. 

A bold prediction for eight notable Arizona Cardinals

1 - Clayton Tune, QB

Clayton Tune opens the season as the Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback and guides them to a 3-5 start, but plays well enough for some fans to clamor for him to be ‘the guy’ for the rest of the year. But Kyler Murray returns and underperforms, allowing for Tune to line up under center for the final three weeks of the season, and lead the Redbirds to a pair of wins, finishing the year 5-5. He will be a potential frontrunner to land the job next season. 

2 - James Conner, RB

James Conner has been injury prone for his entire career, but that won’t happen in 2023. He will rush for over 1,000 yards, score 10-plus rushing touchdowns, and start all 17 games for the Cards. He plays well enough to go into 2024 as the RB1, even if Arizona keys on improving the position in the offseason. 

3 - Michael Wilson, WR

Michael Wilson finishes fourth on the team in receptions, behind DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, and Trey McBride. The big red zone target will also be one of six Arizona Cardinals to record 50-plus catches this season, and he will log five touchdown receptions. 

4 - Trey McBride, TE

Trey McBride will take over for Zach Ertz as the TE1 in the desert, record 60-plus receptions, and 8-plus touchdown catches. Look for him to also become a red zone threat, and a player that defenses must account for in 2023. 

5 - Jon Gaines II, G/C

Jon Gaines II will yank the starting center job from Hjalte Froholdt at some point in 2023. And he will form a scary tandem with Paris Johnson Jr., who should spend the entire year at guard. Gaines’ performance pencils him in as the starting center heading into 2024. 

6 - B.J. Ojulari, EDGE

B.J. Ojulari works his way out of the rotation, and secures an every down spot at edge. Look for him to either record at least 7.5 sacks as a rookie, or if he forces opponents to continually put a pair of eyes on him, expect another to reap the benefits. Either way, Ojulari’s presence helps the pass rush. 

7 - Owen Pappoe, LB

Owen Pappoe breaks into the starting lineup at midseason and logs 100-plus tackles, including at least five in the backfield. He will also force a pair of fumbles, record a pick, and multiple sacks. Pappoe’s steady rise will let the Arizona Cardinals continue to move players like Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons around in the defense. 

8 - Garrett Williams, CB

Garrett Williams will supplant Marco Wilson as the CB1. Not because Wilson will revert back into the player he was in 2021, but more so thanks to Williams’ steady climb. While the third round pick has some ground to make up thanks to his ACL injury, he will end the year as the Redbirds top corner with multiple interceptions and 30-plus return yards.

Related. Cardinals surprise in PFF’s simulator for the 2023 season. dark