Through two weeks of the season a great deal of questions surrounding the Arizona Cardinals have received more clarity. Some questions, such as the Cardinals competitiveness, have been quelled. Other questions, however, have at this point morphed into genuine concerns. The Arizona Cardinals entered this season with several young players with a mission to prove that they are long term solutions to the franchise. This article will focus on three young players who were expected to improve but have either not progressed or outright regressed in the early part of 2023.
This exercise will examine if fans should expect these struggling players to turn their careers around or if they will find themselves out of town by the start of 2024. For many of these players it is their last chance to star in a major role before the Cardinals bring in an influx of talent from the 2024 NFL draft and free agency. The NFL moves quickly as Cardinals fans saw when they were mostly blindsided by the Isaiah Simmons trade this preseason, and these three players could all find themselves in a very similar situation of being traded for scraps.
3 Arizona Cardinals players who need to turn their careers around in 2023
1- Marco Wilson
Marco Wilson has been the subject of scrutiny through the first two weeks of the season. He was burned on more than a couple of occasions versus the Giants and committed a backbreaking pass interference that led to a touchdown early against the Commanders. A 44.5 Pro Football Focus grade demonstrates that Marco Wilson’s struggles are real.
That being said, Marco Wilson still has his 2022 track record to prove that he is capable of being a good cornerback. In 2022 he only allowed a completion percentage of 57.5% on 87 total targets. Additionally, quarterbacks when targeting Marco Wilson only achieved a 77.1 rating. For context, Davis Mills had a 78.8 quarterback rating in 2022 so it is sufficient to say that quarterbacks did not look great challenging Wilson. This history of past success grants Marco Wilson some more runway to figure it out.
Wilson is likely overmatched as a number one cornerback, but I trust that he is closer to the player we saw in 2022 than the first two weeks of 2023. With a stronger pass rush, he should be able to play with more freedom and less risk. He is an above average tackler in space and someone who is still easy to envision as a core piece to the secondary. I believe he will get past these early season struggles and finish as player fans still have confidence in.
Verdict: Turns it around