You will see Budda Baker play this season alongside Jalen Thompson, and the two will have another dynamic year lining up alongside one another, barring injury. This will also occur regardless of how badly the Arizona Cardinals play as a team this season, though if you know me, I am remaining optimistic until they give me a reason to believe otherwise.
Marco Wilson will also take another step forward, and he will make his case to become the CB1 that the Cardinals haven’t had since the days of Patrick Peterson. And no, Wilson won’t reach Peterson’s level, but he will prove to be a viable consolation as this team wades through its transition year.
Isaiah Simmons is the wildcard, and whether he ultimately plays safety or nickel corner in this scheme, it will be interesting to see what he can do following a full training camp playing in just one position unit. If I’m to make a projection, it’s that his pass coverage skills should be a far cry from what they were last season now that he knows he needs to utilize them every time an opposing quarterback drops back.
Arizona Cardinals could have a high-octane secondary in 2023
Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Marco Wilson, and Isaiah Simmons are four names whose performances in the desert have ranged from good to elite. And they will make the defensive backfield a highly encouraging group even if the likes of Garrett Williams, Kei’Trel Clark, and any of the rentals Arizona signed don’t pan out.
Prediction: Williams and Clark should not only pan out; they may also steadily grow into their own respective roles at some point in 2023, which could make the Cardinals corners and safeties one of the NFL’s most talented units. Sure, opposing offenses could slice and dice their way through the Cardinals front seven, given how weak the defensive line could be.
But it will be tough to pass on this team if the secondary remains healthy, and that may at least force opponents to lean one-dimensional at times. If Arizona’s front seven can hold, then their defensive backs could produce some exciting numbers that will give fans a reason to watch this season.
I could even see analysts stating that, “in hindsight, the 2023 Cardinals weren’t a good football team, but they produced a lot of turnovers.” And many of those turnovers could come as a courtesy to the likes of Baker, Thompson, Wilson, and Simmons among others.