Grading the Arizona Cardinals linebackers for 2023

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zeke Turner (47) runs after
Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zeke Turner (47) runs after / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals may not have a strong roster this season, but they will have a strong linebacking unit, even without Isaiah Simmons and Zaven Collins.

The Arizona Cardinals may not have made much of a dent in free agency, but they made several moves regarding their linebackers. Kyzir White and Krys Barnes signed with the team, as did Josh Woods, though he is most likely a special-teamer. 

The Cardinals also drafted Owen Pappoe, and he completes what should be a respectable unit in 2023, albeit an unspectacular one. So how do the Cardinals linebackers shape up in 2023? Keep reading for more. 

Arizona Cardinals boast a solid group of linebackers

It’s always encouraging to have a player who brings experience from the system being implemented, and for the Cardinals, Kyzir White is that player. If the defense is going to have a “quarterback” this season, it will be White. 

Krys Barnes was never drafted, but don’t let that make you think he’s a fringe roster prospect. Barnes has enjoyed quite a solid NFL career for a player who never heard his name called on draft day, and he’s going to make his fair share of plays in the desert. 

Owen Pappoe is one to watch, since he should play at least a part-time role in the unit. It also shouldn’t surprise you if his role increased as the season progressed, and he could be a favorite to win the starting job in 2024. 

Zeke Turner and Josh Woods are a pair of linebackers who will see time on special teams. But they will also provide depth in the event of injury, and could be serviceable if called upon. 

Overall, there is nothing spectacular about this group, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re average. Instead, the Arizona Cardinals linebackers are a solid unit with three capable starters that may also see Zaven Collins make the occasional cameo if he’s not included in a package at outside linebacker/EDGE. 

This leads me to give the Cardinals linebacking corps a solid B. If Pappoe pans out and if White takes another step forward, they could be a formidable group when 2024 rolls around.