The Arizona Cardinals preseason kicks off this Friday evening against the Denver Broncos. And while we likely won’t see most starters in action for any more than a series or two, there are still plenty of players to get excited about watching.
Below, I listed three that you must keep an eye on this week and during the game. One player just arrived and has already given us some good returns while another became an instant fan favorite. A third player is a dark horse to open the season as a starter, though they will need to fend off several competitors to lock up the job.
3 Arizona Cardinals to watch this week
1 - Marlon Mack, RB
So far, we have seen good returns on Marlon Mack, who shined during the Red and White Practice. While Mack hasn’t been the same player since his 1,000-plus yard season in 2019, he’s proven nonetheless, and all signs indicate he hasn’t yet lost a step.
Sure, it’s still early, but a strong showing from Mack against the Broncos could give him quite the edge as the projected RB2. In this week’s first preseason game, look for Mack to get plenty of carries and playing time.
2 - Clayton Tune, QB
When the Arizona Cardinals drafted Clayton Tune, he became almost an instant fan favorite. Sure, Tune was a Day 3 pick, but given his overall mobility and the uncertainty regarding starting quarterback Kyler Murray’s return, Tune organically makes for a higher ceiling option than projected starter Colt McCoy.
And if he plays well against unfamiliar competition, then he will inch closer to unseating McCoy to be the Cardinals eventual starter. Like Mack, Tune should see a lot of playing time this week.
3 - Christian Matthew, CB
The CB2 spot is anyone’s position at the moment, but former seventh round pick Christian Matthew would be the frontrunner to land the job if the season started tomorrow. Matthew’s size works to his advantage, so if he can shut down opposing receivers this week, then Kei’Trel Clark, Rashad Fenton, and Antonio Hamilton, among others, will be playing some serious catch up come Week 2.
Matthew will eventually compete with Garrett Williams, so a good first impression will go a long way vs. Denver. He is an intriguing second year player, but does he have the skill set to complement that size? We will get closer to the ultimate answer when we see him battling the Broncos receivers.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)