Top 5 Arizona Cardinals under intense pressure in 2023

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Cameron Thomas
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Cameron Thomas - Defensive End

For whatever reason, former defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was never fond of utilizing rookie defenders. Cameron Thomas, a third-round draft choice of the Cards from a year ago, certainly fell victim to that philosophy last year. Joseph insisted on rolling with a non-effective veteran like Markus Golden, while an up and coming edge-rusher like Thomas was in on just 21% of the defensive snaps in '22.

Things could be changing in that regard, now that Rallis is in charge of the defense. For one thing, Gannon utilized a 4-3 alignment over the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. That could mean a move back to the defensive end spot for Thomas, a position that the 6 foot 5, 270 pounder excelled at during his days at San Diego State University.

Gannon will obviously have to hold onto some of the players that former GM Steve Keim brought to the desert, and a contributor Thomas will be given every opportunity to prove he belongs. The 22-year-old tallied 18 tackles, three sacks and six quarterback hits in a limited amount of action as a rookie, and there's no reason to believe that those numbers can't skyrocket for Thomas in '23.