Why the Arizona Cardinals linebackers will be an exciting unit in 2023

The Arizona Cardinals linebackers may look somewhat different this year, but you can still get excited over what this unit has in store.
Nov 6, 2022; Phoenix, Ariz., United States;  Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins (25) and his
Nov 6, 2022; Phoenix, Ariz., United States; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins (25) and his / Michael Chow/The Republic

The Arizona Cardinals had a pair of linebackers in Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons who they could have started in the unit this season. But Collins has spent the offseason at outside linebacker/EDGE, and he will likely spend camp there, too. 

Simmons was never a true linebacker, since he often played a lot of secondary. This season, he should play exclusively with the defensive backs if he catches on and performs well with the group throughout camp and the preseason. 

Therefore, the Cardinals have two fresh faces to keep an eye on in Kyzir White and Krys Barnes. And while neither took the league by storm, White has put up steady production over the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Barnes, meanwhile, defied the odds with the Green Bay Packers, and put together two solid years for the team before injuries stagnated his 2022 campaign. 

White, Barnes could take Arizona Cardinals linebackers to new heights

White and Barnes have given their respective teams solid returns, and at ages 27 and 25, respectively, the duo are young enough to perhaps find a permanent home in the desert throughout their prime years. Plus, they have a major opportunity in Arizona given the Cardinals overall weakness at defensive line. 

If the line can’t hold, but if White and Barnes can converge and they play better than advertised, then the Redbirds could have an underrated but productive duo should they line up alongside one another. Further, if Collins floats between linebacker and EDGE, then it gives the Cards even more fresh legs rotating in and out of the unit. 

Throw in Owen Pappoe if he impresses in camp, and the Cardinals linebackers may be the saving grace against the running game should opposing offenses perpetually overpower the defensive line. Overall, the Arizona Cardinals linebackers don’t contain any household names, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a deceptive group, and that will bring some excitement in 2023.