5 hidden gems on the Arizona Cardinals roster who will surprise in 2023

The Arizona Cardinals will take the field for regular season action on September 10th and there are a few hidden gems who will surprise from the first kickoff.
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages
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While it’s true young football teams won’t win many games, they are exciting in their own right. And the Arizona Cardinals are that team in 2023 thanks to the much-needed roster overhaul that former general manager Steve Keim left in shambles.

Keim’s method of blockbuster trades and at times, noteworthy free agent signings is reminiscent of the “Yzerplan” currently going on with the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. Keim’s teams may have been fit for a video game, but in real-life the results were, predictably, stagnant at best. 

Enter Monti Ossenfort, who did what he could to at least start cleaning the mess Keim left in Glendale. And while there are a few players listed from the Keim era below, they are hidden gems nonetheless for this young Cardinals team. Let’s meet them.

Emari Demercado
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

5 hidden gems on the Arizona Cardinals for 2023

1 - Emari Demercado, RB

Way back in April, I noted that I was ecstatic to see the Arizona Cardinals sign Emari Demercado as an undrafted free agent. The rookie was just a few months removed from helping lead the TCU Horned Frogs to arguably their greatest season in school history, and I was surprised to see that no one scooped up the late-bloomer.

With James Conner and Keaontay Ingram leading the backfield, I’m not expecting Demercado to be a factor in the running game. At best, he is a change-of-pace back with sure hands. And the latter is where we will see Demercado excel. 

Look for the Cardinals to use him on third-and-long or third-and-medium, and he will get plenty of chances to sneak out of the backfield and catch some passes. It’s backs like Demercado with pass-catching potential who create headaches for opposing defensive coordinators, even if they are nothing more than role players. And who knows, maybe the Cards got a Duke Johnson type of player in Demercado?