Take a look at the current Arizona Cardinals roster and you likely won't be impressed. First year general manager Monti Ossenfort has assembled a squad that could find it difficult to stack wins this coming season. Basically, the front office is in the process of fixing a franchise that hit rock-bottom and registered just four victories in 2022.
In spite of the bleak outlook, the cupboard isn't completely bare for the Cards in 2023. Quarterback Kyler Murray, a two-time Pro Bowler, is expected to be back in the starting lineup sometime this fall. Solid veteran performers such as Budda Baker, James Conner, Zaven Collins, Zach Ertz, Jalen Thompson, and Marquise "Hollywood" Brown are also still in the mix.
Most of the Arizona locker room, however, is made up of individuals who are the farthest thing from superstars. The club has a bunch of players that have something to prove, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The following are five unheralded Redbirds who could be surprise contributors to the team this coming season.
Krys Barnes - Inside Linebacker
When the Cardinals defense takes the field on opening day against the Washington Commanders, the squad will have two new starters at the inside linebacker spot. One is Kyzir White, a free-agent addition from the Philadelphia Eagles. The other is Krys Barnes, a fourth-year pro who inked a one-year contract with Arizona back in March.
The 25-year-old Barnes is slated to make just over $1 million this season, a salary that could turn into one of the NFL's biggest bargains in '23. Ossenfort was able to get the 6 foot 2, 230 pounder at such a cheap rate, due to the fact that an ankle injury sidelined the California native for 11 games last year. What could the Cards be hoping to get out of Barnes during the upcoming campaign?
Back in 2021, Barnes racked up 80 tackles and a sack in 13 appearances (10 starts) for the Green Bay Packers. The previous season, the former UCLA product was credited with 81 tackles and four passes defensed in 16 contests (13 starts) for the Pack. Now that he's healthy, "Big Red" can expect more of the same out of Barnes when the schedule gets underway next Sunday.