Top 5 dark horse contenders to earn a spot on the Arizona Cardinals 53-man roster

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Each year, at least a handful of unknown or obscure players slated to be nothing more than camp pieces slip their way onto the Arizona Cardinals roster.

When a team is rebuilding or at least in transition, it’s easy for the fans to lose interest. Most likely, it will be a long season, and something between three and four wins is often the projection. 

However, another camp of fans, including myself, love years like these because position battles and overall growth we otherwise wouldn’t see run rampant. But so does the increased likelihood of players potentially earning a spot on the roster who otherwise wouldn’t. 

And that’s what we will talk about below. Check out these five fringe players who could earn their respective ways onto the Arizona Cardinals roster. 

Dark horse contenders to earn a spot on the Arizona Cardinals

1 - Emari Demercado

Perhaps no one is in a better position on this team than Emari Demercado. I’ve written about Demercado in the past, and I was ecstatic when I saw him ink a deal with the Cardinals. 

As it stands, James Conner is the only back on the roster with a guarantee to make the cut. The others including Corey Clement, Ty’Son Williams, and Keaontay Ingram have done little to consistently impress so far in their respective careers. 

2 - Brandon Smith

An intriguing recent signee, Brandon Smith is a big target that immediately gives him leverage to perhaps steal a roster spot. A transplant from the XFL, if Smith can beat out the bottom-dwellers on the current roster, he could easily find himself sticking around on the 53-man roster. 

3 - Rashad Fenton

While it’s true Rashad Fenton flopped last season, I can’t help but look back at his successful 2021 campaign when he was with the Kansas City Chiefs, which you can read about in my ‘Ranking the Cardinals defensive backs’ piece. In short, if Fenton plays the way he did in 2021 throughout training camp, he could end up more than just making the team. 

4 - Blake Whiteheart

Blake Whiteheart is small in tight end terms. But if Zach Ertz, for any reason, wasn’t ready to go for Week 1 and needed to be shelved, Whiteheart could be the next man up. He will have a chance to impress along with second-year player Trey McBride, assuming he enjoys a good camp. 

5 - Ben Stille

When your team makes a waiver claim, it means there is heightened interest in them. And that’s the case with Ben Stille, who the Cardinals claimed a little over a month ago. With at least the interior defensive line projected to be a weaker unit this season, Stille has a chance to not just win a spot on the roster, but he could perhaps find himself starting in Week 1. 

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