3 new Arizona Cardinals in prime position to make an impact in 2023
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals were quiet in free agency, but they made several under-the-radar moves that include three players who can make an impact.
The Arizona Cardinals have made better moves in free agency than many want to give them credit for. Why is everyone picking on the Cardinals? For one, they had among the highest amount of cap space in the NFL and brought in no prize free agent.
That makes teams easy targets, especially following a 4-13 record and a subsequent regime change. But the Cardinals brought in quality, under-the-radar players who either have the potential to produce, or have produced, elsewhere in the league, even if they didn’t play at an elite level.
This implies their best days may be ahead of them. And that should make fans excited. So who are the top three Arizona Cardinals who can go from average, or even below-average, production and make a leap? Here are three names.
3 new Arizona Cardinals who can make an impact
1 - L.J. Collier, DL
A first round draft pick in 2019, L.J. Collier was a perennial bust during his time with the Seattle Seahawks. HIs best season came in 2020, when he logged 22 tackles, 3.0 sacks, four tackles behind the line, and seven quarterback hits.
While it’s hit-or-miss of whether a draft bust will succeed elsewhere, it’s always intriguing to take a flier on one. And with a weak defensive line in Arizona at the moment, Collier has a golden opportunity to turn his career around. As it stands, he will enter the season as a starter.
2 - Zach Pascal, WR
Zach Pascal put up middle-of-the-road performances during his time with the Indianapolis Colts, a team that shuffled through quarterback after quarterback. It seemed as though Pascal could break out when he got out of the situation and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
But it wasn’t to be, as he logged just 15 receptions. To his credit though, quarterbacks targeted him just 19 times, leading to a 78.9% catch percentage. If the Arizona Cardinals trade DeAndre Hopkins, chances are, Pascal could draw a lot of targets his way in 2023.
3 - Krys Barnes, LB
While Kyzir White has garnered more attention as far as free agent signings go, Krys Barnes is more intriguing. Formerly an undrafted free agent, Barnes turned in a solid campaign in 2020, logging 80 tackles.
After a similar campaign in 2021, injuries kept him from breaking out in 2022. But in six games, he logged 29 stops, which when stretched over 17 games, put him on pace for 82 combined tackles.
With Isaiah Simmons perhaps slated to play slot corner in 2023 given the overall depth at linebacker, Barnes has a chance to become an impact player. Look for a big season from the former Green Bay Packer if he stays healthy.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)