Ranking the top 10 Arizona Cardinals defensive backs for 2023

Feb 5, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; NFC strong safety Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals (3)
Feb 5, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; NFC strong safety Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals (3) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals have a plethora of corners and safeties vying for a spot, but some will be undisputed starters and key backups come September.

The secondary might be the most interesting position group on the Arizona Cardinals. Budda Baker is returning, and Jalen Thompson will once again line up alongside him barring any sort of injury.

Despite the dynamic duo at safety, cornerback could be the most volatile position on the team. While Marco Wilson has one spot locked up, who will man the side opposite of him? Or better yet, who will eventually line up on Wilson’s other side? Check out our rankings below for more clarity. 

Ranking the top 10 Arizona Cardinals defensive backs

10 - Rashad Fenton

Rashad Fenton had a good season in 2021, allowing just an 84.0 quarterback rating, 6.0 yards per target, and 8.7 yards per completion. He also allowed zero touchdowns that season, and compiled eight starts in 14 games. 

But it’s since gone downhill. In nine games and seven starts last season, Fenton allowed 26 completions on 31 attempts, a 127.7 quarterback rating, 11.8 yards per target, and 14.3 yards per completion. He will get another chance with the Arizona Cardinals, but he has quite a hill to climb. 

9 - Nate Hairston

Leadership and experience may keep Nate Hairston on the Cardinals roster in 2023. He is a likely special-teamer who would be nothing more than a depth piece in the secondary, seeing little playing time on defense barring injury. 

8 - Kris Boyd

Kris Boyd isn’t on the team to play much defense. Instead, you can expect him to stick around as part of the special teams unit. He could be pressed into service, however, if injuries strike and the Cards rookies need more time to adjust. 

7 - Kei-Trel Clark

An intriguing sixth-round draft pick, the smallish Kei-Trel Clark has a chance to take advantage of a situation of potentially weak corners and the fact he was a draft pick of the new regime. This could give him an inevitable edge over Christian Matthew. And if Garrett Williams needs more time to recover from his knee injury, then Clark may see more playing time than anticipated.

6 - Garrett Williams

If Garrett Williams can get healthy, then you can expect him to be the starting corner lining up opposite of Marco Wilson. It just depends on when he is cleared to play, and how quickly he can adjust to the NFL. 

5 - Christian Matthew

Christian Matthew is in a precarious position because he didn’t accomplish much last season and there is the fact he’s part of the old Steve Keim regime. If Clark or Williams impress early and Matthew can’t match them, he will find himself sliding down depth charts. 

4 - Antonio Hamilton

Antonio Hamilton has been serviceable throughout his time with the Arizona Cardinals. But in 2023, he is nothing more than a placeholder for either Garrett Williams or even Kei-Trel Clark if the latter overachieves. Nonetheless, look for Hamilton to play a sound nickel or dime role as the season wears on. 

3 - Marco Wilson

Marco Wilson looked like a wasted draft pick after a horrendous 2021 campaign, but he has since redeemed himself with a solid 2022 outing. If Wilson can enjoy a repeat performance this season, then he will be a starter in the desert for a long time. 

2 - Jalen Thompson

Jalen Thompson is one of the best, albeit most underrated safeties in the NFL. A dynamic playmaker who the Arizona Cardinals got for a steal in the fifth round of the 2019 supplemental draft, Thompson is yet another player who will be a long-term member of this young defense. 

1 - Budda Baker

Things looked turbulent earlier in the offseason with Budda Baker, but it appears that the storm has blown over. One of the best safeties in football, look for Baker to emerge as a leader in the desert in 2023. Hopefully, he can resolve his contract issues and be yet another long-term fixture with the defensive unit.

Wild Card - Isaiah Simmons

Since Isaiah Simmons has been working with the defensive backs, he also gets a wild card spot on this list. While Simmons indeed struggled in coverage last season, he was also jumping back and forth from the secondary to linebacker. With it looking as though Simmons will be playing mainly in the defensive backfield this season, he could perform much better at corner or nickel in 2023.

Predicting the Arizona Cardinals depth chart for 2023. dark. Related. Predicting the Arizona Cardinals depth chart for 2023

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)