A guess at the 53

Posted by Darren Urban on August 29, 2012 – 4:59 pm

Every NFL team must have it roster cuts in by Friday afternoon. To be exact, by 6 p.m. Arizona time. I expect the Cardinals – and coach Ken Whisenhunt – to have announced them before, since Whiz will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. that day. Until then, though, this is a guess at how this 53-man roster shakes out.

Whisenhunt made it clear the other day that this last preseason game does matter when it comes to a spot or two on the roster, and I believe that. It means trying to approximate who will be on the roster before that last game is somewhat fool’s gold. I’m certainly not Nostradamus here. Last year, for instance, I had Ben Graham holding off Dave Zastudil for the punter job. I was very wrong. And this only holds for as long as it might take for the Cards to claim/sign a guy or two over the weekend, which would obviously change things. That always happens.

But it’s fodder to chew on until Friday, speculation upon which this time of the NFL schedule is built around. So with apologies to those I miss on, and with a nod to old school Letterman, this is only an exhibition and not a competition, so please, no wagering.

QB – (3) John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley. No, we don’t know the starter yet. But it’s hard to believe that with everything Lindley has shown as a rookie he doesn’t get the nod over Rich Bartel (who is one of the best guys you’ll meet and someday will be a very good coach.)

RB – (4) Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell. This is one of the sticking points. Powell has had a good preseason, but as I have mentioned many times, I think Alfonso Smith has as well. It may come down to how Powell looks Thursday night. Will I be shocked if Smith is the choice instead of Powell? Nope.

FB – (1) Anthony Sherman. The Sherminator running unopposed. It’s like a boring political “race.”

WR – (6) Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Early Doucet, Michael Floyd, DeMarco Sampson, LaRon Byrd. This is a close one, in my mind. The top four are obvious. I think Sampson has had a good camp and he can play special teams. Byrd versus Stephen Williams may just be about Byrd’s upside. I’m not sure Byrd would make it to the practice squad but — given some other positional issues, like, at say, offensive line – I’m not sure either if the Cards may try and keep just five receivers and use the practice squad for relief.

TE – (4) Todd Heap, Jeff King, Rob Housler, Jim Dray. Given the injury history of, well, all of them, I think the Cards play it safe and keep four guys around again.

OL – (8) D’Anthony Batiste, Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, Adam Snyder, Bobby Massie, Rich Ohrnberger, Jeremy Bridges, Senio Kelemete. This is a very difficult one from the outside looking in. The Cards might keep nine linemen, given their . Has Kelemete shown enough, even as a draft pick? Would Nate Potter be possible given the tackle issues? Where might a free agent or waiver claim fit in? I could see Potter, D.J. Young and/or center Scott Wedige as practice squad material too.

DL (6) – Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Vonnie Holliday, David Carter, Nick Eason. Seems fairly cut and dried at this position, one of the few like that.

LB – (8) Sam Acho, Paris Lenon, Daryl Washington, O’Brien Schofield, Stewart Bradley, Reggie Walker, Clark Haggans, Brandon Williams. This is another spot that might come down to the Denver game. The backup outside linebacker spot figures to have two places for three guys: Haggans, Williams, Quentin Groves. Groves made some plays early. Williams plays some special teams and has been higher on the depth chart.

DB (10) – Patrick Peterson, William Gay, Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Jamell Fleming, Justin Bethel, Rashad Johnson, James Sanders, Greg Toler, A.J. Jefferson. Usually, the Cards wouldn’t keep more than nine defensive backs, and that’s still possible. With 10, Bethel is a special teams keeper despite being a raw DB. Michael Adams is the odd man out there, but it will not shock me to see Adams stick around either and maybe someone like Jefferson out. Watching the reserve defensive backs closely in the finale, because I think that will be part of the equation.

ST – (3) Jay Feely (K), Dave Zastudil (P), Mike Leach (LS). Never should have doubted Leach’s return.

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35 Responses to “A guess at the 53”

  1. By AndyStandsUp on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I noticed you had Adrian Wilson making the team, Darren.

    Every year there’s at least one surprise cut, usually a veteran.
    Any guess?

    I’m personally thinking it may happen along the DL.

  2. By Andy Kw on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I agree and disagree with your predictions:

    QB: I agree with Darren about the QBs but I feel Whiz really didn’t give Bartel a fair chance to compete for a roster spot. And Darren, I like the way you put Skelton over Kolb. (Skelton, Kolb, Lindley)

    RB: I agree with Darren 100% on the running backs. (Wells, Williams, Howling, Powell) Alfonso Smith is good as well but not good enough to compete against Powell’s amazing performances.

    FB: Agreed (Anthony Sherman)

    WR: I agree with Darren 100%. I also predicted that early since the KC game. (Fitzgerald, Roberts, Doucet, Floyd, Sampson, Byrd)

    TE: Agreed 100%. Steve Skelton really has no chance on making the roster. (Heap, King, Housler, Dray)

    OL: I agree with Darren as well. But I really feel Hochstein should be on this roster.(Sendlein, Colledge, Snyder, Bastiste, Massie, Bridges, Kelemete, Ohrnberger)

    DL: Totally agreed. There is really no one else that can compete against this group. (Campbell, Dockett, Williams, Holliday, Eason, Carter)

    LB: I don’t really agree that Brandon Williams will beat out Quentin Groves. Too bad Sturdivant won’t be on this roster again but best of luck to him. (Acho, Lenon, Bradley, Washington, Schofield, Haggans, Groves, Walker)

    DB: I don’t agree with A.J Jefferson making the team. I feel that Mike Adams has played more consistently than Jefferson no matter the differences in height. (Wilson, Rhodes, Peterson, Toler, Gay, Sanders, Johnson, Bethel, Fleming, Adams)

    ST: Agreed no doubt. (Feely, Zastudil, Leach)

    Darren, I think you said 8 people will make the practice squad so here is my prediction:

    (Rich Bartel, Nate Potter, A.J Jefferson, Brandon Williams, Alfonso Smith, Quan Sturdivant, Ronald Talley, D.J Young)

    LEVI BROWN, please get better and heal for next season. You did well but I guess it is time to rest and relax on the side lines.

  3. By Gilbert on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    Do u hav an opinion on whose tge starting qb? Just an opinion nothing official.

  4. By Darren Urban on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    Gilbert —

    RE: QB

    Mentioned it in the comments here:

  5. By Andy Kw on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    And Darren,

    Is it possible for Stephen Williams to switch from Wide Receiver to Cornerback?

    He has the height and has the skills for that position. I feel bad not mentioning Crezdon Butler nor Stephen Williams MY prediction. They all have skill but not enough to beat the starters nor the other backups. Stephen Williams might make the practice squad but Crezdon will probably be a free agent. I expect these players to be signed back next year but also they have a huge chance of having their careers ended if they are cut from the team. The practice squad keeps them safe but they need to do well this next game to make it in to the squad. They have no chance to making the 53 man roster.

  6. By Darren Urban on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: SWilliams as cornerback

    Um, no. That would not be a possibility.

  7. By stewart badley on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I agree with Darren on the 53 man roster, except the OLB, three guys for two spots, for what I’ve seen Quentin Groves and Brandon Williams make the team, Clark Haggan is too old and slow. Somebody said “this sport is for young people” and I agree.

  8. By FanSinceJamesHart on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    If the Cardinals do not keep Powell, I’d really question the move. I know it’s against back up but he has played extremely well and bring something new.
    Alfonso Smith, we have been there- don that and while I feel he is solid, he has made little to no impact in the regular season.
    I feel if we have any injuries in the regular season; something that is entirely possible with Beanie, Powell is the better option to keep.
    I like the way he cuts and I love his vision and is the clear choice over Smith (remember Smith’s road Seahawks start last year? Horrible).
    I feel Powell brings a certain spark that escapes Smith’s ability, I hope the coaches feel the same way.

  9. By jskeleton on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I love it; needed insght. Thanks Darren. I hoping to see Groves instead of Hagon and Byrd instead of Williams on the 53 roster.

  10. By cdj on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    is leachs sole job just to be the long snapper? like he cant play any of the line positions?

  11. By Darren Urban on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    cdj —

    RE: Leach

    He can play tight end in a pinch.

  12. By zbot on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    is it bad that im still optimistic about this season?

  13. By Secret on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren, I agree with your 53 predictions, I just hope that on of the OT’s can step up or a decent free agent comes.

    Do you have a prediction at the practice squad?

  14. By Darren Urban on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    Secret —

    RE: practice squad prediction

    Not really.

  15. By Rio on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I will be going through my Process.

  16. By Tim in NJ on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    Not only do I think RB W.Powell makes the team, but he will see a good amount of playing time during the 2nd half of the season when Beanie or Williams gets banged up.

    Go Cardinals!
    Tim in NJ

  17. By BIG RED on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I have a feeling if S. Skelton has a good game tomorrow, he will make the team. And the odd man out will be Jim Dray or even maybe one of the veterans thats always getting hurt.

  18. By Chris Lewis on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I’ll be very surprised and disappointed if William Powell doesn’t make the final roster.Just from watching him in the Tennessee game, he really impressed me with his skills and his heart, he gives it 110%, you gotta root for a kid like that. We need more players like him.

  19. By Eazy E on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    QB- I hope Kolb end up getting cut, because we’re wasting money and time with him like leinart. Get somebody else dammit!

    RB- William is having a great preseason, not just good. Him and Alfonso is tough to choose from because Alfonso has had a good preseason too.

    FB- Easy

    WR- Laron took Stephen’s spot

    TE- Straight

    OL- Too bad, but hopefully we can pick somebody up, we should be able too.

    DL- Too strong

    LB- Gotta get production from the outside consistently

    DB- Adams over Jefferson

    ST- Good

  20. By cardsalltheway on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    “Will I be shocked if Smith is the choice instead of Powell? Nope.”

    That’s it Darren, I think some of us are finally rubbing off on you. Most(if not all) analysts etc…have said Johnny S. should start over K. Kolb which I agree with but will I be surprised when he doesn’t? Nope!

    Another Johnny S. fan is below…
    W. Sapp commented on the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation. He said he’d take John Skelton over Kevin Kolb. ”Skelton will stand in the pocket and deliver the ball,” Sapp said.

  21. By AB on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    I hope RB William Powell makes the team.

    The Cardinals may have struck gold on this player.

  22. By Eazy E on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    1-10 scale on the Arizona Cardinals:

    QB- 2- We are in BIG Trouble here. I like Skelton, but still he is raw and we could use a upgrade. Kolb is not going to do it, cut that ass like a coupon!

    RB- 8- Beanie when healthy, is a very good, potentially great back. Ryan will be a very nice complement and may grab that top spot if Beanie ain’t on it. Larod is great on ST with the kickoffs and a good change of pace from both Beanie and Ryan. William deserves the 4th spot with Alfonso too, either could easily be a #3 or maybe a #2 depending on how they develop.

    FB- 7- Sherminator is good, can catch and run a little bit and definitely can block and is improving even more.

    WR- 10- Because of Larry, I give them a 10, but our other WRs aren’t bad either in Dre, Early, Michael, Sampson, and Byrd.

    TE- 6- Too many injury prone guys, Heap, Housler (even), King, and Dray have had injury problems. They have good potential, but gotta be on the field available.

    OL- 4- Injury to Levi, Levi Brown, is even a sizable loss, he ain’t great, but so is our line. I like our inside guys in colledge,sendlein, and snyder, but our starting tackles aren’t good and aren’t a bit experienced either right now. Depth is OK inside, not out though.

    DL- 9- D-Line should be crazy good with a couple pro bowlers in Campbell and Dockett and Dan if he can stay healthy, can plug up that middle at 314.

    LB- 7- Love our inside backers Lenon and D Wash and even Bradley showed something this preseason. Outside guys I like too in Acho and Schofield, but we need big years from both. I have full confidence in both, but they are young and got BIG roles now. Groves I like too as a situational guy for right now and he’s had a good preseason imo. Brandon has made a couple plays and Haggans is a vet who we know can produce a little bit.

    DB- 9- Super strong Defensive backfield. We could have 3 pro bowlers in our secondary for real. Gay is good too. Fleming has came along very well and Bethel on ST at least is really good. Adams is over Jefferson and Toler imo too. Rashad and James would be the backup safeties who can play ST and a little D.

    ST- 8- Very good here. Borderline Elite with Feely as a pro bowl kicker, Zastudil has been a pleasant surprise since he got here after Graham, and Leach is a sure long snapper and good on ST.

  23. By Eazy E on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    What position we need to target after cuts via trade or free agency:



    Maybe OLB

  24. By Mr Robles on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    I agree Darren, I’ll buy you a beer if your exactly right ok.

  25. By cobra on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    I wish the best of luck to whoever wins the starting QB job! There has been alot of debate. We all know, both will play this year, if not all three. My point is although our QBs have the cards stacked against them our OL will eventually progress..

    Alot of fans want to remember Warner. I can only say, not much has changed.

    1) Line breaks down, Warner is hit and fumbles.
    2) Line breaks down, Warner scrambles, is hit and fumbles.
    3) :Line breaks down, Warner reads defense, hits Boldin on second read, TD.
    4) Line breaks down, Warner under Pressure throws ball away, penalty for intentional grounding.i
    5) Warner has time, TD to Fitz.
    6) Warner says, F-it, uses quick release to survive as long as possilbe, interception.
    7) Warner, the man played with more heart than should be asked from a QB. For all of the beatings he took, he made many more great plays
    8) Warner, TD, TD, TD after TD. Hall of Fame.

    I guess it’s gut check time. Who wants to be the man and pay the price?

  26. By D on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    I think you are 99% right, except for LB. Time to bid farewell to Haagans and keep Groves.

  27. By Dan Watts on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    I agree with Big Red that Steve Skelton has a real shot at unseating Jim Dray. Not only does he make the difficult catch while being slobberknockered, he’s a good blocker, and he always seems to get good separation on his routes.

  28. By Nicholas Babcock on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    Tim, what part of NJ are you in? I’m in Westfield, NJ. I thought I was the only Cardinals fan in NJ. You going to hit up any east coast games this year? I’m going to Cards/Pats game, and Cards/Jets game.


  29. By Dennis on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    I went to the charity lunch last year and got a football signed by anybody that would sign it. By the next Monday almost everyone of them had been cut. So me doing picks is out of the question, I obviously suck at it. My football does have Skelton and Fitz, so I have that going for me.

  30. By shawn hyduke on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    Darren i too believe this should be the 53. On paper we look unbeatable. Now to grease the wheels n get this season started. Hopefully Skelton gets the starting spot. Batiste at left tackle should give him a lil more time to make the right play. Ive got the birds tattooed on my head both sides like the helmet and am proud to show them off. Lets go Cardinals

  31. By cardsalltheway on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    I never saw in Lindley anything that puts him in front of Bartel(last year). This year Bartel did not get a fair chance during preseason games. Pathetically unfair is our head coach Ken W. And really how could Lindley have looked better than Bartel during practice when he didn’t know the plays nearly as well as Bartel? Sickening!

  32. By Chris Lewis on Aug 30, 2012 | Reply

    I hear everyone talking how high they are on Rob Housler. I don’t see it, not yet anyway. Sure, he’s got potential, everyone trying for a roster spot in the NFL has potential, but everytime I’ve seen him play going back to last year, he drops too many passes (reminds me of Early Doucet), and these are throws that are very catchable. I’m glad we have Heap and King, because Housler is a 3rd string TE at best. I hope he gets better, and dropped passes are something you can fix, I think it’s just a matter of focus.

  33. By William Barry on Sep 3, 2012 | Reply

    Housler is a fine pass catcher, he just needs for seasoning. He got high marks in Pro Football Weekly. I really like our chances this year.

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