Unheralded edge-rusher may have earned a job with the Arizona Cardinals

Pass rusher Zach McCloud may have earned a spot on the Arizona Cardinals roster with an outstanding performance in the preseason finale.
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings
Arizona Cardinals v Minnesota Vikings / David Berding/GettyImages

This past week, the Arizona Cardinals made yet another "under the radar" addition to the ever-changing locker room. Zach McCloud, a second-year pro, was brought in to enhance the team's pass rush. On Saturday, during the Cards' preseason finale, McCloud seemed to be more than capable of injecting fear into the opposition's signal-callers.

One of the highlights of Arizona's 18-17 victory over the Minnesota Vikings was the outstanding performance by McCloud. The 6 foot 2, 235 pounder recorded not one, not two but three sacks of Minnesota rookie quarterback Jaren Hall. The feat was quite astonishing, especially considering the fact that McCloud joined the Redbirds defense just four days ago.

As crazy as it may seem, McCloud may have earned himself a spot on the Cardinals roster with his terrific showing against the Vikings. The squad's current contingent of edge-rushers are chock-full of question marks. With that being the case, McCloud likely has a better-than-average chance of securing a job at one of the franchise's most wide-open positions.

Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort has a familiarity with edge rusher Zach McCloud

Arizona had a connection with McCloud through Monti Ossenfort, the organization's first-year general manager. Before being hired by "Big Red", Ossenfort was the Director of player personnel for the Tennessee Titans for three years (2020-22). Coincidentally, McCloud inked a deal with the Titans last December, following short stints in 2022 with the Vikings and Denver Broncos.

The 25-year-old McCloud is attempting to infiltrate a group of outside linebackers that currently features Zaven Collins and Dennis Gardeck as the starters. Also in the mix for playing time are Cameron Thomas, BJ Ojulari, Myjai Sanders, Victor Dimukeje, Jesse Luketa and David Anenih.

McCloud appeared in 59 matchups during his six campaigns at the University of Miami. The 6 foot 2, 235 pounder racked up 192 tackles (22.5 for a loss),11 sacks and four passes defensed for the Hurricanes defensive unit. A possibility exists that the unheralded McCloud will survive final cuts and make significant contributions to the Cards' sack total in 2023.


(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)