Top 3 breakout candidates for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023

Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans
Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals have a ton of young talent on the roster, and you could see some of that talent rise a cut above the rest of the league.

As a team in transition, the Arizona Cardinals will be looking toward their young core early and often in 2023. Gone are the days of easing young players into the lineup. So while two of the three breakout candidates listed below are in just their second season, don’t expect them to ride the bench. 

Each of the three players outlined could double their production in various areas of their game from last season, picking up where they left off in 2022. So who has the best chance to enjoy a breakout campaign this year? Keep reading for the top three names.  

3 Arizona Cardinals players who can breakout in 2023

1 - Trey McBride, TE

At one point last season, Trey McBride looked like a wasted draft pick. However, the 2021 John Mackey Award Winner showed his worth last season following Zach Ertz’s knee injury, racking up 29 catches on 39 targets, 265 receiving yards, and a score in 16 contests. 

While Ertz appears slated to return by Week 1, look for the Cards to place more emphasis onto McBride, who will be just 24 this year, fitting the criteria for the team’s long-term plans. Since you can count on McBride serving as the TE1, expect him to snag no fewer than 50 catches for at least 500 receiving yards and a few touchdowns. 

2 - Myjai Sanders, DE/EDGE

Last month, I wrote a piece speculating that Cameron Thomas can be the Arizona Cardinals breakout player. But you also can’t count out Myjai Sanders, who posted similar numbers to Thomas. 

In 2022, Sanders played in 13 games and started just four. But he forced a fumble, deflected three passes, recorded 23 combined tackles, 3.0 sacks, five quarterback hits, and another three stops behind the line. And he did all of this in 259 snaps. 

Translation: Sanders will enjoy a big year with more playing time. Give him 500 snaps, and watch his production double. 

3 - Isaiah Simmons, STAR

Some believe Isaiah Simmons has already broken out and posted elite numbers. But the reality is, Simmons’ production has been rather splashy, and you can blame that on the fact that he’s yet to lock down a true position in this league. 

That’s no fault of his own, thanks to former defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s inability to place Simmons at a specific position and let him grow into it. In the NFL, that’s a recipe for disaster. Or in Simmons’ case, underachieving, which should actually be a compliment in this situation considering the way he’s handled it. 

If current defensive coordinator Nick Rallis lets Simmons primarily play one position, then you haven’t seen anything yet regarding the fourth-year player. Let Simmons play just linebacker, or give him enough time to master a position like nickelback, and watch him put up elite numbers. 

Must Read. Cardinals should relish in underdog role for 2023. Cardinals should relish in underdog role for 2023. dark

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)