3 bold predictions for the Arizona Cardinals defense in 2023

The Arizona Cardinals defense has enough pieces to be a better unit than many are advertising, starting with safeties Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson.
Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Nick Muse (34) runs the ball
Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Nick Muse (34) runs the ball / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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The Arizona Cardinals defense may not look good to many on paper, but they have a great safety duo and perhaps an under-the-radar CB1. And that’s just the beginning, as the Cards EDGE rushers are also a group that showed us plenty of decent returns in the preseason. 

Add in a pair of new linebackers in Kyzir White and Krys Barnes, plus a surprising push at the defensive line, and the ingredients for a successful unit are here. So why not get a little (or very) bold and optimistic about this defense in 2023?

What could the Cardinals D have in store for us? You might find them boasting one Top 10 unit in a specific category. They may also make a few more plays than many may want to think, especially under a head coach whose unit recorded 70 sacks in 2022. 

Jalen Thompson, Budda Baker
Arizona Cardinals v Las Vegas Raiders / Chris Unger/GettyImages

Bold predictions for the Arizona Cardinals defense

1 - Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson earn Pro Bowl nods

Regardless of how bad the Arizona Cardinals could be this year, there is no denying the talent at safety with Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson. Both players should pick up where they left off last season, even amidst a new system that head coach Jonathan Gannon and defensive coordinator Nick Rallis are bringing in. 

While Pro Bowl nods don’t hold as much water as they once did, Baker and Thompson will put up numbers that should easily land them a solid number of votes. Baker is well-known around the league, but this year, the NFL universe will finally be introduced to Jalen Thompson and the numbers he can produce. 

The duo will record over 100 tackles apiece, collect at least three interceptions, and enter the double-digits in passes deflected. Opposing quarterbacks will have a tough time going over the top against Baker and Thompson, and that will further limit big plays from opposing offenses. Overall, expect the Baker and Thompson Show to be a major hit in the Cardinals defensive backfield.