Top 3 reasons why the Arizona Cardinals should start their youngest players in 2023

Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (70) during voluntary Organized Team
Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (70) during voluntary Organized Team / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

As a team in transition and looking to get younger, the Arizona Cardinals should play their youngest players in 2023 and refuse to look back.

The Arizona Cardinals are a young football team who will be seeing quite a transition season unfold in 2023. You will also see a plethora of new systems in place on offense and defense, and best yet, head coach Jonathan Gannon appears to be remaining rather cryptic about what system his defense, at least, is running. 

So with all the changes going on, it makes zero sense for the Cardinals to start their oldest players unless they absolutely have to. Instead, let’s start building this thing right now in 2023 by rolling with the younger talent at top spots on the depth chart. Here are three reasons why. 

Why the Arizona Cardinals must let their youngest players start

1 - They are the future of the franchise

First off, the younger players are the future of the Cards. Players like Josh Jones, for example, have more potential years left in this league than Kelvin Beachum. Jon Gaines II is a rookie with more potential and a brighter outlook than Hjalte Froholdt, so why not start the kid at center?

Let’s look at the quarterbacks as well. While Kyler Murray can still be the future of this franchise, why not let Clayton Tune start over Colt McCoy in Week 1? Despite being a Day 3 pick, Tune has more potential to become a long-term answer at quarterback than the 36-year-old McCoy. I can go on for days here, but I'm sure you understand the point.

2 - The new regime is building around them

Kyler Murray and Clayton Tune are both mobile quarterbacks that the Arizona Cardinals can build around. Players like Marquise Brown, Michael Wilson, and Trey McBride will also have the offense tailored to fit their respective strengths. 

And you can say the same regarding the defense. This is one reason they’re moving Zaven Collins to outside linebacker/edge, for example. If the new coaching staff is building around the young players, something we know just from seeing how general manager Monti Ossenfort acted during the offseason, then play them early so they can progress together. 

3 - The veterans never helped the Cards win

Here is some food for thought: Has Antonio Hamilton, Zach Ertz, Dennis Gardeck, or Kelvin Beachum ever helped the Arizona Cardinals win consistently? Of course not.

Sure, you can make the same argument for Budda Baker, who is ironically one of the older players on the roster this season. But as an All-Pro safety, he gets a free pass. 

The point is, none of the above did much for the Cardinals. At this point, besides Baker, the only longtime seasoned veterans I’d even remotely consider starting are D.J. Humphries and James Conner. Though if I were in charge, I’d place Humphries at right tackle, kick Josh Jones inside to play guard, and put Paris Johnson at left tackle. 

Overall, the Cards’ future is right now, in 2023. And yeah, playing the kids will probably mean a lost season. But that mentality also gives your Redbirds the best possible chances to win more consistently in 2024 and beyond

Who are the 5 cornerstones of the Arizona Cardinals in 2023?. Who are the 5 cornerstones of the Arizona Cardinals in 2023?. dark. Must Read