PFF praises Arizona Cardinals for improved defensive line after NFL Draft

2024 NFL Draft - Portraits
2024 NFL Draft - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

The weakest spot for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023 was on their defensive line. They heavily struggled to stop the run and did not get pressure against the pass. It was a need that Monti Ossenfort needed to address this offseason, including through the NFL Draft. With the draft being over, the Cardinals were able to draft two defensive linemen who can play on the outside and inside. 

Trevor Sikkema from Pro Football Focus gave praise to the Cardinals by drafting Darius Robinson in the first round, and then acquiring Clemson defensive end Xavier Thomas in the fifth round.

Sikkema discussed the versatility and overall fit that both players bring to this defensive line. Both of them can help create a pass rush and Robinson has the bigger size and length to get the advantage on a blocker. He will just need to improve his quickness and even add a move or two to get past a blocker rather than just try to bull rush. With Thomas, injuries have affected him in his college career but the Cardinals see something in him where they believe he can be a difference maker in a rotation.

Before the Cardinals made these draft moves, they would go out and acquire veteran help with defensive tackles Justin Jones and Bilal Nichols, with each of them getting three-year deals to help stop the run for the Cardinals. In addition, both Jones and Nichols can provide an interior pass rush. 

Overall, the Cardinals did make a vast improvement with their defensive line. However, it would not be a surprise to see them attack the position next year again in the draft. Things have slowly started to turn around in Arizona and the defensive tackle position looks more stable, but we will truly see how it unfolds once the season starts.