Thoughts on the first depth chart

Posted by Darren Urban on July 26, 2017 – 3:33 pm

The first depth chart is here, and mostly that means, dang, we are about to have a football game (and one week from Thursday, we will). This comes with all the same normal disclaimers — including the note that it was prepared by the media relations staff. Also good to note that rookies are always low when this first comes out, and indeed, in practice Budda Baker and Chad Williams, for instance, are running behind a handful of other guys. But they will be on the team, barring something unforeseen.

In fact, there aren’t any real surprises. Chris Johnson and Kerwynn Williams are listed as “co” No. 2 running backs, and that’s a good sign for Williams (although I expect CJ2K to have the job when it’s all said and done.) Olsen Pierre is ahead of Xavier Williams on the defensive line. The injuries of Elie Bouka and Jumel Rolle look like they’ve hurt their depth chart standing. And even though Harlan Miller is listed among the safeties, he’s done most of his work thus far at cornerback.

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18 Responses to “Thoughts on the first depth chart”

  1. By JTDG on Jul 26, 2017 | Reply


    If you were to pick one guy who will surprise everyone, that not many expected, who would it be?

    Could Cole Toner take over at center? Mauro take another big step? Jaron Brown had a great camp last year, I would guess he could be that guy ? Troy Niklas finally stays healthy and plays like a 4th year 2nd round pick? Or is it the Badger becoming the Badger again, which would be a welcomed sight?

    My pick, Olsen Pierre to pass Frostee and Nkemdiche and become a starter with Mauro and Peters by years end. He really flashed in preseason last year, and I have a feeling, he could make another big step this year.

    Looking forward to seeing him and some of the others mentioned in the HOF game.

  2. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Surprise

    You make all good guesses (although I wouldn’t call Mathieu a surprise … his rebound is being counted upon.)

    If Rucker stays healthy I don’t see Pierre passing him. I could see Nkemdiche moving up, however. If Niklas stays healthy, I think he’s going to get a lot of playing time.

    If I had to pick one that you didn’t suggest, maybe Scooby Wright. Not necessarily as a defender but as a special teamer, carving out a place in this league.

  3. By creditcard on Jul 26, 2017 | Reply

    I thought Xavier Williams was a NT and Rodney Gunter a DE. Not much depth at OLB and ILB.I also thought Harlan Miller was more of a FS than a SS

  4. By joe holst on Jul 26, 2017 | Reply

    starting D-line looks bad. compare to Seattle these guys wouldn’t even make the team. Hopefully they can trade for some help, NY Jets are loaded and in tank mode.

  5. By andystandsup on Jul 26, 2017 | Reply

    Point blank, Darren. Big Penny fan.
    Early on – 53, PS or not on roster?

  6. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    andystands —

    RE: Penny

    Got a chance. But if they keep CJ and Kerwynn and Logan, it’s tough to keep another.

  7. By Coach K on Jul 26, 2017 | Reply

    Darren, Scooby Wright may end up surprising everyone and playing more snaps than anyone thinks. In watching practice he is moving and reading like a ten year pro. I had no idea his instincts were this good.

  8. By JTDG on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    RT @RapSheet: Ex-#Browns CB Tramon Williams is flying to Arizona for a visit with #AZCardinals,

    10 year vet who really played well for 5-6 years for the packers. I always find it hard to judge a guy who plays for the Browns. He was brought in by one coach with a big contract and released by another coach.

    Could he be the answer at CB2 ? I like him better than Flowers. If he has anything left like his prime, this is a great pick up. Worst case , he will push Bethel.

  9. By JTDG on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    Looking at the depth chart , as we have discussed before, the cardinals only started Golden in 3 of the 16 games last year.

    Instead, the played 4 down (counting Jones as he is an OLB but put his hand on the ground) 2 LBs and 5 DBs.

    I actually like this alignment as you have cover guys and 4 down lineman for the run. It allows the cards to move Badger or whoever around to blitz or just give different looks.

    It also looked like they went to a 4 man front to rush the passer on passing downs with Golden coming in and pulling a LB (Minter) for another DB.

    I know it will shake out in preseason but;
    First, do you see them doing this again this year ? Second, when you go to that dime coverage, do you see them taking out Reddick, or will they stick with 5 DBs and let Reddick blitz from different angles. Finally, the team really doesn’t like rookies playing, but is Baker that 5th DB? Or is it Branch

  10. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Questions
    1) I don’t anticipate them changing what made them successful last year, although it’ll be interesting to see if Campbell departure impacts any scheme decisions.

    2) Not sure what they will do on dime. Dansby is a wild card, but they like Reddick. And what to do with Bucannon when healthy?

    3) Right now, technically, Bethea is the fifth DB because Branch is the one running at SS with the ones in the base defense. Baker is going to get his chances. I think Branch could be on the bubble. They’ve got to sort out Baker’s early impact in preseason.

  11. By JTDG on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    Hasn’t Dansby always been a Wild Card? 🙂

    I forgot about Buc, now that we have Reddick and Dansby. Lots of moving pieces.

    I heard a rumor that the team was unhappy with the way Golden played the run and left his lanes just looking for sacks. Putting a 4 man front helps solve that.

    But thinking ahead, With Chandler Jones getting his huge payday, will the cards not want to pay Golden similar money? If Reddick can show he can get to the QB, could he take over the Golden role and watch Golden be traded before the draft of 2018 ?

    Reddick plays inside on run downs and then moves outside on pass downs.

    Buc, Golden, John and Jaron Brown, and David Johnson all could be hot players come the end of this year and will cost a bunch to sign them. Doesn’t a Golden trade make sense at some point given the value you could get?

  12. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Golden

    The way Keim talks, Golden sure sounds like someone he wants around long-term.

  13. By JTDG on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply


    Now you always said the cards wouldn’t bring in say a Bouye or Gilmore because that would be too much money for one position.

    Golden is up in 2018. Chandler Jones has a dead cap hit of 20.5 million or more till 2020. Can they really sign the guy is jones has a cap hit of 15.5 and 19.5 in 2018 and 2019 respectfully ?

    I get they will have a QB on a rookie deal most likely, but they also have DJ needing a huge payday. along with DJ Humphries (we know what LTs get paid) and Buc. We just saw Desean Jackson get 11 million a year and if John Brown rebounds and puts up big numbers, he will need to be signed.

    Seems someone is going to walk. This has the feel of the Campbell situation, where they should have either traded him or redone his contract. Instead, he just walked.

    I’m thinking Golden could fetch a first rounder. Having a pair of first rounders would be the juice to move up to get a QB in 2018. Just saying.

  14. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Paying

    Don’t lose the context that the “one position” I referenced previously was DB — not just CB — and they are paying both Peterson and Mathieu. So no, they weren’t going to pay a third. Whether it was Gilmore or Tony Jefferson.

    They aren’t trading Golden. Not now.

    And how do you know they didn’t look into trading Campbell? At the time, though, you had a team coming off an NFC Championship believing it could win a Super Bowl. Having a Campbell there to make that push was likely more worth it than a trade (which, given age and contract situation, might’ve netted you, what, a third?).

  15. By JTDG on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply


    True, I get why they kept him. I don’t get why they were unable to extend him.
    Of course, as you said, I wasn’t there behind the scenes so it’s tough to know if Campbell was offered 3 years 30 million and turned it down.

    I guess my thought, much like billechek did with the Pats, if you can’t resign a guy, get what you can for him. Think if you had another 3rd rounder last year and Nkemdichi hits, that’s a better deal.

    So, with Golden, I wasn’t saying he would be traded now. I said before the 2018 draft. Of course, you need Reddick to show something first. But if he can show he can get to the QB in 2017, the pieces are there to resign Buc and pair him with Reddick as the two ILBs and bounce Reddick outside on passing downs.

    To me, instead of having 170 million wrapped up with two pass rushers, when you have another guy who can do the job, it would be better to trade up in 2018 to get that QB and use the money to sign weapons for the QB ala Johnson, oline, the Browns possibly .

    Just my thinking.

  16. By Darren Urban on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Extend Campbell

    That’s easy. They were never going to pay him that much, and free-agents-to-be seem to have a way of finding out early what their worth is on the open market.

    As for Golden, you’ll never get a first for him with only a year left on his deal and big money coming. Just like the Pats couldn’t for Chandler Jones.

  17. By Scott H on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    Geez, I always forget about Branch…..yet another guy who seems like he could really offer something if he can stay healthy. And at this point, I’m starting to lose count of how many players we have who fall under that general description. Seems like we have quite a few.

  18. By JTDG on Jul 27, 2017 | Reply

    Good point about Chandler Jones.

    I just don’t see having 34 million a year tied up into the 2 olbs .

    Could you get a two like Jones? It will be an interesting situation before 2018 draft.

    Of course, there a lot of assumptions by me. Reddick becoming a force in the pass rush. Golden taking it to the next level. A trade partner . And of course, a chance to parlay picks to get that QB.

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