It's beginning to sound like a broken record, but the Arizona Cardinals are going to have to strengthen their pass rush in 2024. Through 13 games, outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck leads the squad with an underwhelming five sacks. Putting pressure on the opposition's quarterbacks has been more of a group effort this fall, but the addition of a Pro Bowl-type edge rusher has to be an offseason priority.
On Friday, Cards general manager Monti Ossenfort snatched outside linebacker Tyreke Smith off of the practice squad of a division foe. The Seattle Seahawks had drafted the 6 foot 3, 255 pounder back in April of last year, but apparently had very little use for him. In fact, Smith has just one appearance and one measly tackle thus far on his NFL resume.
It appears that Smith will be handed much more of a chance to show what he can do in the Arizona desert. Ossenfort didn't go out of his way to pry the 23-year-old away from Seattle for nothing. Could Smith be a diamond in the rough who will take the opportunity he's being given by the Cardinals and run with it?
Arizona Cardinals hoping that Tyreke Smith can be a part of the franchise's plan going forward
Smith was selected in the fifth round by the Seahawks, the 158th-overall choice of the 2022 draft. The youngster played his college ball at Ohio State University, and earned Second-team All-Big Ten honors back in 2021. In 30 total appearances, Smith racked up 55 tackles (11 for a loss), seven sacks and five passes defensed for the Buckeyes defense.
The Ohio native becomes the second Seattle pass rusher that Ossenfort has added to the Cards locker room this year. Back in March, former first-round selection L.J. Collier was signed to a one-year deal. "Big Red" had high hopes for the 28-year-old Collier until a biceps injury put an end to the optimism.
What Smith can provide for the Cardinals defensive unit, if anything, remains to be seen. Every move made by Ossenfort from here on out will be geared towards improving the squad beyond this season. The next four weeks could determine if the newly-acquired Smith can be a part of the franchise's plan going forward.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com and College Football Reference)