The first depth chart, 2016

Posted by Darren Urban on August 8, 2016 – 11:19 am

The Cardinals’ first game is Friday night against the Raiders, so that means the first depth chart of the season was put out today. As always, it’s a preseason depth chart, and there is a ton of wiggle room in what it says and what happens once the games start and who plays on the field.

“It’s (in) invisible ink,” coach Bruce Arians said, laughing. “It ain’t even in pencil.”

That said, it’s always interesting to take a look at where the players are at this point.

— On offense, there is nothing really wacky. The starters, given what Bruce Arians has said about both A.Q. Shipley and D.J. Humphries, are as expected. Perhaps the only notable thing is that, as of now, tryout rookie Chris Hubert — who has flashed multiple times in practice — is ahead of veteran Brittan Golden at one of the wideout positions (behind Fitz and Jaron Brown.)

— On defense, even though Ed Stinson has been with the first-unit much of the offseason and camp, it is Rodney Gunter listed as a starter with Calais Campbell, and the now-injured Corey Peters as the starting nose tackle. Given the depth at the defensive line, the rotation will show starting means little since so many guys will be moved in and out.

— Brandon Williams, the rookie, is the starter at cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson. That’s not a surprise since Justin Bethel has been hurt for so long. Bethel hasn’t been on the field to play since the NFC Championship, although he should be close to a return.

— At safety, something to watch. The starters are the injured Tyrann Mathieu, and he is backed up by Tony Jefferson. The strong safety starter right now is listed as D.J. Swearinger, ahead of Tyvon Branch. Before the offseason, you would’ve thought Branch or Jefferson would be penciled in there, but it is Swearinger right now. As much as the Cards have had to figure out their cornerback situation, their safety spot — especially with rookie Marqui Christian making strides — is pretty strong. There might have to be a tough choice made there too, especially once Mathieu is considered healthy.

Here’s the whole chart:


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Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »

24 Responses to “The first depth chart, 2016”

  1. By Clifford W Wagner on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t see Smokey Brown … is his concussion more serious than first though?

  2. By Darren Urban on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    Clifford —

    RE: Smoke

    He’s right behind Floyd.

  3. By Big Ken on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    Earl Watford just keeps sticking around, got to admire.

  4. By TLT on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    Heard Keim and Wolf this am talking re so many NFL caliber players will get cut by Cards…or traded. Last 2-3 years same thing, only this (again) is deepest we’ve ever had…wow, tough for the players…

    Know when 1st cut comes?

  5. By Darren Urban on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    TLT —

    RE: Cuts

    First round after third preseason game, final cuts after final preseason game.

  6. By D on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t feel confident right now in the Oline. Hopefully E. Mathis gets healthy soon.
    DJ is going to be up and down all year, not his fault, but can’t expect him to be a All Pro anytime soon. E. Watford probably should be the starting Center. At least the left side of the Line with Veldheer. who is getting better going against C. Jones every day and Iupati is solid as long as he can stay healthy.

  7. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    No surprises really. But here is what I want to watch.

    When the cards go to the nickle and dime packages, will they use HB on the slot and bring Jefferson in, and bring Branch in on dime or will they look at the CBs?

    I would not be surprised if they go the safety route and bring in 4 safeties instead of another CB.
    Jenkins, Ball, Bethel got some proving to do, to show they belong on the field.

    On another note, remember last year the hype was on Momah in camp and then he got injured? Haven’t heard much about the TEs, but potentially, this could be an exciting group. Niklas, Momah, Gresham, and Fells could quietly be a really good group.

    any news/word/stories on the TEs Darren?

  8. By Darren Urban on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: TEs

    I think Fells looks in good shape, and has been pretty decent in camp. I don’t expect any breakout numbers by the tight ends though. They are who they are in this offense.

  9. By texascard on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    The will backer will shine on a great d unit.

  10. By Eric G on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    Can’t wait to see what Garret Swanson’s got. Anything but Butler. He is literally the weakest link on this team and I just don’t understand why they haven’t replaced him.

  11. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply


    2015, TE’s had 43 catches for close to 600 yds and 6 TDs. That is not bad.

    I am realistic that, with the receivers and backs we have, TEs will be limited. But I also know TEs will be open on this team loaded with speed and talent outside and in the backfield.

    In 2014, the TEs had a couple more catches for the same amount of yards but only 1 TD. So they got more red zone looks.

    With an improved run game, I could see a jump to 50 catches, 700 yds and 10 – 12 TDs. That would be an amazing year and is within grasp in my opinion. Especially if Niklas ever stays healthy and performs.

  12. By Darren Urban on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: TEs

    That sounds realistic.

  13. By D on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply


    You think S. Keim would entertain a trade with the Chargers after a few days of practicing with them? Let’s say, Bosa is still a hold out in a few weeks, wouldn’t a J. Mauro be appealing to the Chargers say for a trade for a K. Wiggins, their backup OL who can play G and Tackle? I am just thinking BA would like more experience at backup OL besides Watford on the final 53.

  14. By Darren Urban on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Trade

    Not only would I have said yes anyway, but Keim was on the radio this morning outlining a scenario where, while they practice, he and Tom Telesco will have a chance to watch the other team and a deal is always possible.

  15. By Joseph Renegar on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    O-line doesn’t look too bad to me. I expect that some of these starters won’t be the starters though once the actual season begins, but we will have to see.

  16. By clssylssy on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    I see this “first” depth chart as more a preseason starter rough draft so don’t put much stock in it knowing BA will make adjustments and “tweaks” as the weeks go by and he is able to see what is working or not. I love that we will be practicing with the Chargers in San Diego, for the above scenarios you outlined as well as to get some practice in with players we aren’t familiar with and can second guess. I know the Saints practice with the Texans and will be also practicing with the Patriots this year and would like to see the Cards do something similar.
    I have great respect for BA and the things he does with offenses but wish he was able to utilize our TEs more effectively. I love the position and can only imagine our offense with a Gronk or Tony Gonzalez!
    Hard to believe football is finally almost here and anxious to see how our young guys stack up in real time in unfamiliar surroundings.

  17. By Jason on Aug 8, 2016 | Reply

    Damn, no Dwight Freeney. I’m know he went to ATL. But he was a nice “Ace in the hole.” for AZ. I will miss his legendary spin move, which leads to A LOT of sacks on the QB.

  18. By Scott H on Aug 9, 2016 | Reply

    Jason –

    RE: Missing Freeney

    I hear ya, man. Have been watching some Freeney highlights from last year and….man, he is still SOOOOO good at that spin move! I know he is more of a situational player at this point, but when he was on the field, he looked like he was still ALL THERE. I will miss him, too.

  19. By Scott H on Aug 9, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG –

    I was definitely educated by your breakdown of the numbers our TE’s posted in 2014 vs 2015 – virtually identical except for the TD’s. I was really surprised to know that because it SEEMED to me that our TE’s were much more effective last year than they have been any time in recent memory. Amazing how it can seem that way just by a few more catches in the end-zone…..

    As much as I have griped about the TE position in recent years, I was actually quite pleased by how they seemed to be more involved last year ( even if they really weren’t ). Palmer was orchestrating this offense SO well last year, what was there to complain about?? We have TE’s who are clearly capable of making plays and Palmer was finding them at the right times. No reason to think that won’t continue.

    I’d be fine with another year of TE production like we had last year. As long as the offense is humming like it did in 2015? Fine with me.

    Question for you – any hope that Jaxon Shipley finds a spot on the roster this year? I’m guessing probably not. For this team, he just plays the wrong position! But he was definitely a standout last year.

  20. By clssylssy on Aug 9, 2016 | Reply

    I see the Cards are being ranked #1 in the Preseason Power Rankings; how U HATE that! These rankings mean absolutely nothing &only set us up to disappoint–at least when you are at the bottom like the 9ers or Rams,there’s no place to go but up! Historically, we haven’t been comfortable at the top and have managed to screw things up. At a party this weekend everybody was buzzing about the beginning of football, and Zi was floored by the doubts in people’s minds that the Cards would be as good as being hyped; I was probably the most positive person there, and I’m a transplant from KC!
    The Cards have a huge target on their back & I would definitely feel more secure having Freeney on hand for insurance and to help keep our feet on the ground and our head in the game!

  21. By TheXgasm on Aug 9, 2016 | Reply

    Interesting that Swearinger is listed first on the depth chart. Easy to forget that he was drafted in the 2nd round in 2013 and played fairly well for a rookie before being cut by the Texans for his attitude (rumor has it that he thought a 2nd rounder who started, albeit due to injuries, shouldn’t play special teams and he walked out of a special teams meeting).

    My guess is the kid had a ton of talent but had a bad attitude and some entitlement issues that saw him get cut by 2 teams before the Cards gave him a shot and basically told him “Your attitude won’t fly whatsoever here. You want to be a winner, gotta lose the ego.”

    I thought he played well in spot duty late last year, showing signs of that big hitting power he had at South Carolina. Them tendering an offer for another year shows they must think he’s grown up and hopefully with more time in this defense he’ll become a monster hitter out there for us.

  22. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 9, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H,


    To me it is just a numbers game. People like Shipley , people like Hubert will have a very hard time making the team.

    But who doesn’t make it? Fitz, Floyd, Brown, Brown, Nelson and Britton? All six of those guys are better.

    Britton gets an edge because he can be a gunner for special teams and you know you can trust him.

    So how does a Hubert or Shipley make this team? Be the top punt/KO returner on the team. Be valuable to the team.

    It really boils down to that. Fitz, Floyd and John Brown are staying on the field. Jaron Brown is looking very good and Nelson is the big play guy. Being a good receiver is not good enough.

    If Shipley or Hubert are to somehow make the team, it will be because of special teams play. Catching passes against 3rd string guys in preseason will not be enough.

  23. By Scott H on Aug 10, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG –

    RE: Shipley

    Yeah, I get it. It really was a non-question. I was going to add more to the last post but I had to cut it short. I can’t help rooting for the guy, ya know? If he has another good summer here, I hope he catches on somewhere else.

  24. By Scott H on Aug 11, 2016 | Reply

    clssy –

    I hear ya. Believe me, I hear ya! But at this point….I think we really have to embrace how great this team is right now and not be afraid to set our expectations high. Forget rankings or what anyone else thinks of this team right now. They are a top contender in the league right now and a legit SB contender. And I have no problem embracing that. I WANT to embrace that. The only disappointment there could be would only come from the team not performing as it is capable of and coming up short – yes, like they did last year. That will be devastating but that will come from my own expectations. It won’t have anything to do with anyone’s rankings.

    Power rankings didn’t cause this team to collapse in Carolina last year. And they aren’t going to doom us this year, either. We can only beat ourselves at this point. That is where my concern lies.

    Where we are right now is really kinda foreign territory for Cardinals fans. How often has our team been a LEGIT SB contender, to a point where predictions actually have them IN the SB? How often has our organization been recognized as among the best in pro sports?? Hey, I’ve been a fan since 1975 and I can honestly say, I’ve never been here before. But I’m embracing it. Even as I try to not get too crazy, I am embracing it. Can’t help it. Spent WAAAAAY too many years having no hope and hearing people laugh at what a joke they were.

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