Arizona Cardinals: 5 bold predictions for training camp in 2023

Welcome to the last day of the last calendar week without Arizona Cardinals football at least from now until January as training camp is about to kick off.
Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) watches quarterback Colt McCoy (12) throw a pass
Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) watches quarterback Colt McCoy (12) throw a pass / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY
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The Arizona Cardinals have a team full of youngsters, making them a rather exciting group, even with lower expectations this season. Also, a new system on offense and on defense may also give some players unforeseen chances to step up and play a prominent role at least throughout camp in the preseason. 

Below, you will meet a lot of younger talent that could very well make an impact on the Redbirds early in camp. But before we talk about them, let’s address one of the most intense storylines in camp. 

Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) runs out on to the field to take on the Tampa Bay / Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY

5 bold predictions for Arizona Cardinals training camp

1 - Budda Baker gets his payday

The Arizona Cardinals are not tanking, and Budda Baker’s eventual payday will drive that point home. This will also let Baker become a mainstay on the Cardinals defense, and he will remain one of a few franchise cornerstones as the team’s new identity takes hold. 

Earlier in the offseason, we discussed the strong possibility that general manager Monti Ossenfort opted for bargain free agent rentals so he would have enough eventual cap space to pay and extend players like Baker. And in this situation, Baker will be the first recipient of such an increased pay grade. 

2 - Zaven Collins shows flashes of being a difference-maker at EDGE

A few years back, Haason Reddick successfully transitioned from inside linebacker to EDGE at the NFL level. Zaven Collins will make a similar transition, and that will start to show in camp and in the preseason when it becomes clear why head coach Jonathan Gannon and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis wanted him there. 

At 6’4, 260 lbs, Collins more than has the size to compete as an EDGE rusher in a 3-4, and he can even line up as an end in a 4-3. Last season, he invaded the backfield enough times to record 11 tackles for loss, and you can expect more of that in 2023 when he’s at EDGE