One guess at the 53, 2016 edition

Posted by Darren Urban on August 31, 2016 – 3:22 pm

Here is my one and only prediction of the 53-man roster come this weekend, with the usual caveats — no injuries in the last preseason game, no trades that come down (that glut of defensive linemen looms big). I wish I could say over the years that once or twice I have nailed this exactly, but I have not. Nevertheless — to paraphrase the great Herm Edwards — once it doesn’t matter, get out. Retire.

QB (2) — Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton. This was my guess at this time last year, undercut by a trade for Matt Barkley. I don’t see Barkley sticking, so the Cards will need a practice squad QB. Barkley would be eligible, but they could look elsewhere.

RB (4) — David Johnson, Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor. I could see Elijhaa Penny on the practice squad. Kerwynn Williams has proven he can play in this league, but I believe his practice squad days have run out.

WR (6) — Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson, Brittan Golden. Golden’s special teams work slides him in late. Plus it gives you a veteran to help if John Brown needs more time to get ready.

TE (3) — Darren Fells, Jermaine Gresham, Troy Niklas. This is one spot the Cards go lighter to help in other areas. They have some practice squad candidates too.

OL (9) — T Jared Veldheer, G Mike Iupati, C A.Q. Shipley, G Evan Mathis, T D.J. Humphries, OL Earl Watford, C Evan Boehm, G Cole Toner, T John Wetzel. This is a group that could change based on who might be available after cuts. I could see the Cards looking for a backup tackle still. Watford’s versatility will help.

DL (8) — Calais Campbell, Corey Peters, Rodney Gunter, Ed Stinson, Xavier Williams, Frostee Rucker, Josh Mauro, Robert Nkemdiche. They really like having Red Bryant around, and that could provide a surprise. But Xavier Williams has had a good camp too, and all things being equal, Williams is younger.

OLB (4) — Chandler Jones, Markus Golden, Kareem Martin, Alex Okafor. Pretty straightforward. They’ll need someone for the practice squad. Might Shaq Riddick get a chance there? Tristan Okpalaugo is also eligible.

ILB (and $LB, because I know you don’t want to be called an ILB, Deone) (4): Deone Bucannon, Chris Clemons, Kevin Minter, Alani Fua. The wild card in all this is undrafted rookie Lamar Louis. If he excels, he could snare a fifth spot here, which of course would mean taking someone off elsewhere.

CB (5) — Patrick Peterson, Brandon Williams, Justin Bethel, Cariel Brooks, Harlan Miller: The Cards will be seeking help elsewhere. Miller is right on the fringe, a player who could be in or out based on other decisions.

S (5) — Tyrann Mathieu, Tony Jefferson, Tyvon Branch, D.J. Swearinger, Marqui Christian. The Cards have a good bunch here, especially when Mathieu is feeling completely like himself again. Will be interesting to see how many guys are used in sub-packages, especially if the concern at cornerback remains.

ST (3) — K Chandler Catanzaro, P Drew Butler, LS Kam Canaday. No questions here.


Posted in Blog | 46 Comments »

46 Responses to “One guess at the 53, 2016 edition”

  1. By D on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Like every year, good summarization Darren. I concur.

    I see Mr. Keim watching the Browns final cuts very closely, they have too much $ / salaries invested for their backup CB’s, J. Gilbert and T. Williams, I see one or both possible released. Clearly, they are in Expansion / Rebuild territory.

  2. By PFT-made-me-change-my-handle on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    I hope Kerwynn can get somewhere that he gets on the field. Dude really deserves a chance.

  3. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply


    All looks good.

    I might argue that the cards like to use a 2 TE set, so going with 3 instead of 4 might be risky. Maybe you are right, but our TEs have a history of injuries.

    I could see, if Watford can handle RT, Wetzel being released to make room for the other TE.

    Got to believe the cards bring in another CB. Miller would be an easy deduction to make room.
    I want to believe in Williams but I can’t get there. Maybe less blitzes and more safeties over the top.

    Of course, I would like to see John Sullivan be signed to play center, but I doubt BA will mess with the chemistry the line is building.

  4. By Darren Urban on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: TE

    I wouldn’t be shocked if there were two TEs on the practice squad. Definitely one.

  5. By Joe on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Darren,how effective is Okafor going to be,playing with that type of injury?how has he looked in practice? The OLB rotation looks very weak after the starters Chandler Jones and Markus Golden.Isn’t it an area of concern? Paul Kruger may still be available.Too bad Freeney wasn’t resigned.

  6. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Joe —

    RE: OLB

    Obviously they wouldn’t have had Okafor try to play with the injury if they didn’t think he could be effective.

  7. By Blakew on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Hi Darren
    Although it is only your guess , I hope you are wrong on the keeping of just 3 TE’s
    as I really would like to see , Ifeanyi Momah make the team ( not sure if he is practice squad eligible ? maybe ? ) I think there is more upside with him, and just out of curiosity ( i expect you to answer this as any journalist would πŸ™‚ ) but what are your thoughts on the type of preseason he has had as you have access to view practices , as unfortunately I only get to watch the preseason games and really cant make any judgements except on those. Hopefully he has a nice game this week and maybe make a push to solidify his chances .
    Thanks, Blake

  8. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Blakew —

    RE: Momah

    Momah has not “popped” in camp as much as he did last year. Maybe that was because he was new a year ago, I don’t know. But his spot may come down to numbers.

  9. By shane on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply


    i know this is getting ahead a bit & im sure you will be posting a blog about this in the next couple days … but do you know anything about why Larry fitz has not been named a team captain the last 2 years ? after being one for so many years ?? i believe he had the NFL’s Gold captain patch in 2013. IT just seems a bit odd it almost seems that Fitz requested to not be voted one for some reason.. or else he would be one automatically every year it would seem.

  10. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Shane —

    RE: Captain

    It’s been Palmer the last couple of years. Natural to have the QB have it. And frankly, I think Fitz would rather not wear the “C.” He would if there was a vacuum there, but with Palmer, there is not.

  11. By rznbrand on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply


    Do you think that Matthias Farley has a chance to make it onto the roster? He seems just like another Harold Jones-Quartey from last year, and he is the starting safety for the Bears.

  12. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    rzn —

    RE: Farley

    I think that’s a good comparison. Unfortunately, the Cards are stacked at safety.

  13. By georgiebird on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    What is the order to pick up cut players? Thanks

  14. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Waiver claims

    Until the third or fourth week of the season, it’s essentially the first-round draft order from April. So the Cards are near the back.

  15. By joe holst on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    I think they trade for a corner, only keep 8 o-line, keep Barkley too. 5 WR’s.

  16. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Joe —

    RE: Barkley

    I will be absolutely stunned if Barkley makes this 53-man roster.

  17. By Andy Kw on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG & Darren Urban β€”

    RE: TE & CB

    Looking at the progression of Troy Niklas and Ifeanyi Momah’s less than stellar performance, the Cardinals might be more comfortable sticking with 3 TEs and use the additional spot to address another position like OT & CB. Besides, Momah is practice squad eligible.

    I agree with JTDG that CB Harlan Miller is an easy deduction. He would be practice squad eligible too, hoping he is not claimed off waivers. Cariel Brooks has been solid on ST and deducting Miller for a vet CB after all the cuts to 53 would make sense. I would surrender a DL & a pick to trade for DB TJ Carrie(OAK) or CB Prince Amukamara(JAX)

  18. By CARDS62 on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Darren nice work but I do not think they take a chance on TE #80 being picked up by another team.

    So I have them keeping TE #80 Momah and also G # 60 McClain and cutting Ed Stinson DL and Harlan Miller CB, but trying to keep both on the practice squad.

    T-Wetzel also cut or eventually cut for another tackle and also try to keep him on our practice squad.

    Hard day coming up for a lot of young men so I wish them well with their future and hope that another door opens wide for them.

    Go Cards!

  19. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Cards62 —

    RE: Stinson

    Stinson is making this roster.

  20. By Daryl Washington on Aug 31, 2016 | Reply

    Darn it, why am I still banned, Darren? I need to get my Madden rating back up to 95 overall, its sunk down to 79 in Madden 17!

  21. By Corgon on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    I hope J.Shipley can find a way to the final roster. The kid has talent and as I see working hard and do everything what they asked to do.
    GOOOO JAXON! 12/12 for 210 yards in the last game! πŸ™‚

  22. By Kaleb on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply


    Is Momah PS eligible? He really shined in camp last year before injury I wanna see him stick around for one more

  23. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Kaleb —

    RE: Momah

    Yes, Momah would be PS eligible.

  24. By TucsonTim on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    35.4 Net (32 out of 32) and 1 of every 10 punts going for a touchback. 4th worst return average (no hang time!?)

    Why did we keep Butler???

  25. By clssylssy on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    I really love the way our TEs have developed and come on and would love to see us keep four. We have some small receivers who aren’t real durable and not that much help blocking with our run game, utilizing our TEs who are more physical and
    can serve as an adjunct, could be a dimension teams aren’t expecting from us. I worry that John Brown is not going to really be “on” his game after suffering the concussion and missing time he needed to work on his rhythm (hand/eye was falling off last season before his concussion) and timing, and moreover fear that this was more serious than advertised and could have lingering sequela. Would be nice if competition had to plan for covering our TEs as well as Fitz and Floyd (a la Gronk, Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, Jimmy Graham etc).
    This week should be interesting…time for Keim to shine with his talent for pulling a rabbit out of a hat!

  26. By matt on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Did that Texans player ever get fined for his late hit on Carson in the last game? I’m thinking of the helmet to helmet while Carson was on the ground. If not, then wow, he should’ve.


  27. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Matt —

    RE: Fines

    Fines usually aren’t announced until the following Friday.

  28. By TheXgasm on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Corgon –

    Unfortunately, Shipley is stuck behind a glut of good receivers, there’s no way he makes this roster. Maybe another team can sign him, I like his energy and attitude but there’s just too much talent on this team. I feel the same about Kerwynn Williams.

  29. By TLT fka DTL on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Red Bryant a leader, might be key to beating Carolina, Seattle… think I recall some comments by BA/Keim in All or Nothing about his value….my dark horse to make squad, then of course Momah, and Penny (who might make team if Lamar Louis makes team as Special teamer in lieu of Taylor?)

    Did Niklas get promoted to a 1 only to fall back behind Gresham?

  30. By Joe C. on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Darren, Did John Brown have a concussion last year as well as this pre-season? I’m not a fan of J.J. Nelson, his fumbles offset his speed and talent to me. I think I would be leery of John Brown’s availability if he’s had two concussions coupled with Nelson I would lean towards keeping another receiver or Momah (for receiving) and to make room by trading Nelson. Are the coaches high on Nelson and I’m out there?

  31. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Joe C —

    RE: Brown

    No, this is Brown’s first concussion.

    They like Nelson a lot.

  32. By Marlin on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Looks like a good scenario.

  33. By Dr. G. on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    If I were an Offensive minded TE, no way would I want to be on an Arians roster. Since he won’t use a hybrid FB ((run-block-catch)), 3 TEs is plenty…the stats they have produced just don’t justify more. ((not their fault)) Injuries?

    With all the WRs we have, just not enough balls to go around. And, with the numerous long bombs to our little speedsters, I would like some predictions for the over & under on the INTs vs home runs produced this year just for those.

    Best aerial weapons for us are Fitz crossing, Floyd & now JaronB down and out. These guys get all the jump balls! We don’t use these enough. And our new #31 Johnson to set the table. Looking to another great year with a different ending…Go Cards…! Be well Cards Fans…

  34. By absofquiveringsteel on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    I’ve wanted JJ Nelson to be fantastic. I know the Cardinals are in love with the idea of JJ Nelson, but he has not proven to be able to make the big catch and runs terrible routes. Jaxson Shipley can make the big catch and I would like to see hi be given a chance. JJ has had plenty of chances and hasn’t made it happen. When will the Cardinals pull the plug there? Or am I way off base?

  35. By Scott H on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    TucsonTim –

    RE: Why have we stayed with Butler?

    I’ve long suspected that he might have incriminating photos of someone. What else could it be?? Beyond that, I have nothing to offer you but I’ve sure as hell been asking the same questions as you. He is a below average punter and yet it seems like his job is never in jeopardy. Wouldn’t you think that would be a fairly easy position to up-grade at??

    There is NO WAY they haven’t been able to find someone better than a below average punter in the 3 years he has been here. I don’t even see how that is possible. Does that seem reasonable to people??

    I don’t know just how much he should be blamed for our poor punt coverage, but I cringe every time we have to punt. I fear a block on one end or big returns on the other. My God, in Week 17 against Seattle last year, Lockette was getting big returns on every punt. He was coming close every time he got the ball. That Lockette kid is very good but….c’mon, man. It had to be the WORST ST’s play I’ve ever seen during a single game.

    Gotta be honest, ST’s have definitely not been a strength during Arians tenure. Catanzaro is a solid kicker. Beyond that, they don’t seem to do anything very well.

  36. By andystandsup on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Only differing opinion I have is one less OL.
    How favorable are you on Okafor, Darren? Does the injury and last season’s faux pas affect the FO’s thought process enough to not make 53?

  37. By Darren Urban on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    andystands —

    RE: Okafor

    He’s going to make this team.

  38. By TucsonTim on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H –

    Well, it’s as plain as the nose on your face. Something is going on. Too bad there isn’t a sports writer in Phoenix worth his weight in salt that can uncover it.

    What really sucks, you KNOW anyone associated with the team knows it. Butler is a BA sacred cow, and there aren’t any sacred cows in the NFL.

  39. By Dan on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Cole Toner fan club member…………Shaq Riddick sucks……he’s gone.

  40. By Big Ken on Sep 1, 2016 | Reply

    Markus Golden has been invisible. I wondered if he was still on the team.

  41. By Brendan B on Sep 2, 2016 | Reply

    Pretty good prediction Darren.

    In Keim we trust!

  42. By clssylssy on Sep 2, 2016 | Reply

    On a slightly different note: I see that the Chargers get an “exception/elclusion/whatever you call it” for Bosa not signing until the 11th hour and get to carry 54 men on the active roster! WT? This is a total crock, and is in effect rewarding bad behavior at the expense of the 31 other teams. I think the league is setting some very bad precedents and perhaps the Competition Committee needs to nip this in the bud. Where is the “level playing field” when one team gets 54 players and everyone can only keep 53? We have so much talent but will have injuries down the road so that extra player could make a major difference. If I was the front office I would be raising Hell!

  43. By Dan on Sep 4, 2016 | Reply

    Stanton has been a big disappointment since he’s been here.
    The Cardinals have a far better chance to win a game with Barkley compared to disappointing Stanton.

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