I saw a comment on Twitter earlier this week that predicting a team’s 53-man roster is a fruitless exercise, and that’s probably true. It’s impossible to know exactly how the front office/coaching staff is thinking, and that’s even before a final preseason game that could still tip the scales for one or two guys.
But we give this a shot. Keep in mind this is not necessarily the 53 I am saying the Cardinals should keep. It’s the 53 I think they will keep, based on what’s been said, how practices have gone, perhaps some finances in the mix. And it will be wrong somewhere, because that’s inevitable. The 53 is going to change from the first cut to the first full practice Wednesday too, because this team is going to get a guy – or two, or three – from other team’s cut lists.
QB (3) – Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley. There is a lot of talk about whether they keep Lindley. It is oh so tempting to shave off a third QB who in theory will never play. But you are also talking about doing it for another extra guy who likely wouldn’t be active either. Again, Bruce Arians has to decide if Lindley is worth dumping a fifth safety, for instance.
RB (5) – Rashard Mendenhall, Stepfan Taylor, Andre Ellington, Alfonso Smith, Ryan Williams. Ryan Williams is the wild card, of course. This is one of those that could be influenced by Williams’ performance Thursday night. He could be traded, maybe. Arians said he could keep five. There are a lot of possibilities here – Smith could be moved out and Williams kept. They have to feel Williams can stay healthy. That’s the key part of this equation. Do they give him one more chance?
WR (5) – Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, Mike Thomas, Jaron Brown. I think Brown would have a tough time making it through waivers. He’s a big receiver who has had a good preseason. Kerry Taylor would be the odd man out in this scenario, which is a difficult choice. But Thomas has speed as his ally, and the Cards want some speed. This is also a position that could be impacted by other teams’ cuts. Charles Hawkins seems like the perfect practice squad guy.
TE (4) –Jim Dray, Rob Housler, Kory Sperry, D.C. Jefferson. I still think Jeff King has a chance at this roster but again, I think they want to see him playing in a game and I think they need to believe he can stay healthy. Jefferson is so raw, but he seems like one of those guys you will lose if you expose him to waivers. I definitely think the Cards will look for tight ends themselves on the waiver wire.
OL (9) – Eric Winston, Levi Brown, Nate Potter, Bobby Massie, Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge, Paul Fanaika, Earl Watford, Chilo Rachal. Cooper will land on some sort of IR, and if he comes back later in the season, there will be another decision to make. The Cards will only keep seven guys active on game day. Mike Gibson has been working at backup center; Perhaps he makes a better choice than Rachal. Then again, Colledge has taken some snaps. Arians said this was one of the positions for which the last game could mean something.
DL (5) – Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, Darnell Dockett, Frostee Rucker, David Carter. Ronald Talley might be the swingman. It was interesting to hear Arians a couple of times bring him up in press conferences praising him. He is versatile. That said, the Cards could go with five knowing Matt Shaughnessy could be both end and linebacker. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them pick up a defensive lineman on waivers, either.
LB (9) – Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander, John Abraham, Matt Shaughnessy, Karlos Dansby, Kevin Minter, Jasper Brinkley, Reggie Walker, Alex Okafor. For now, Daryl Washington will not count against the 53-man roster because he is going to be suspended the first four games. When he returns, a move will have to be made, but there is time. Okafor is a raw draft pick. Walker is good on special teams. The question will be whether, upon Washington’s return, it means another linebacker leaves, or something else.
CB (6) – Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers, Antoine Cason, Javier Arenas, Justin Bethel, Jamell Fleming. It’s a lot of cornerbacks and they can’t all get on the field. But Bethel is great on special teams and Fleming can help there too. They have used Fleming a lot the last couple of games, trying to see what they have in him. We’ll see if it means a roster spot. Bryan McCann has been mentioned before too. Could he slip in after Thursday night?
S (4) – Rashad Johnson, Yeremiah Bell, Tyrann Mathieu, Jonathon Amaya. Another place where the Broncos’ game could impact the roster. Tony Jefferson didn’t play defense after his big game against Dallas. He seems like a practice squad candidate, but he will have a chance to play a lot. Safety might be another spot in which waiver wire could be used. Amaya is good on special teams and Arians has said more than once he will keep a few of those guys around.
Specialists (3) – K Jay Feely, P Dave Zastudil, LS Mike Leach. Now that Dan Carpenter is gone, none of these should change.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Roster
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