When Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort took over last January, the new personnel boss inherited a roster that limped to a 4-13 record in 2022. A housecleaning began, with a number of holdovers from the previous regime being handed their walking papers. Many of those individuals were retained as well, and have basically been auditioning for a first-year coaching staff that was not around when they arrived.
One player who fits into that category for the Cards is Cameron Thomas, a 23-year-old linebacker who has struggled during his sophomore campaign. Both head coach Jonathan Gannon and coordinator Nick Rallis had high hopes for the youngster, a third-round draft choice of the club last year. Much to the chagrin of the Redbirds, the highly-touted Thomas has failed to deliver.
Heading into the Week 12 clash with the Los Angeles Rams, Thomas had yet to record a sack for the Arizona defense. Even more distressing is the fact that the 6 foot 4, 267 pounder has been credited with just one measly quarterback hit. It's looking more and more like Thomas simply isn't a good fit for the newly-implemented defensive scheme that Rallis is running in the desert.
Arizona Cardinals could move on from yet another former third-round draft pick in 2024
The same was said about Myjai Sanders, another third-round selection from '22 who was released by the Cardinals last month. Like Thomas, the 6 foot 5, 255 pound Sanders was expected to provide the pressure from the edge that the squad so badly needed. At the moment, it appears that both defenders could be moving rapidly toward "draft bust" status.
Thomas is being surpassed this fall by BJ Ojulari, a second-round pick of the Cards from last April. The 6 foot 2, 248 pound Ojulari has registered 21 tackles and four sacks thus far while being on the field for just 30% of the team's defensive snaps. By comparison, Thomas has been in on 37% of Arizona's plays on defense, but has just 19 tackles and the previously-mentioned zero sacks to show for it.
At the moment, it doesn't appear that Thomas will remain with "Big Red" beyond this season. Aside from the touchdown he scored following a fumble recovery on opening day, the San Diego native has contributed very little to Rallis' crew. The phrase "out with the old, in with the new" sounds like a fantastic description of what Thomas' ultimate fate could be with the Cardinals organization in 2024.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)