It was by no means an ideal season for the Arizona Cardinals, but despite the 4-13 record, quite a few players can be proud of their individual performances. One player who should be ecstatic over what he accomplished was none other than Pro Bowl snub, Jalen Thompson.
Thompson was without a doubt the best player on the Cardinals defense this season, and while he had little competition in that regard, the 2019 fifth-round supplemental pick can still count himself in as one of the NFL's better safeties. He ended the year with 78 combined tackles, five for a loss, and three quarterback hits, meaning he made a living invading backfields at times this past season.
He also had four picks for 49 yards, nine deflected passes, a sack, and a forced fumble. Hopefully, a few more Cardinals defenders will make a list like this next season but overall, Thompson is the undisputed champion, even if he won’t receive much recognition for his efforts.
Some Arizona Cardinals veterans enjoyed the best seasons of their careers
Entering Week 18, James Conner needed 110 yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career, and while it’s easier than ever for running backs to hit four-figures with 18 weeks and 17 games, the 28-year-old only saw time in 13 contests. Conner carried the ball just 208 times in 2023, or 16 times per game, but he rushed for 1,040 yards and seven touchdowns.
Overall, Conner ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing yards, but he was third in the league with 80.0 rushing yards per game, trailing only Kyren Williams and Christian McCaffrey. His 5.0 yards per carry was tied for sixth in the NFL with Williams, and second among players with at least 200 rushing attempts.
Conner wasn’t the only one on offense to enjoy a career-best season, as Trey McBride also shattered both personal bests and franchise records. This season, McBride finished with 81 catches, 825 yards, and three touchdowns, which will pose quite a challenge for him to one-up in 2024.
Overall, McBride’s receptions tied him for 20th this season, and he finished fifth among tight ends in the same category. His catch percentage of 76.4 percent also finished in fifth place when ranked against tight ends with at least 50 receptions.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)