Having to draft a QB in back to back seasons is never ideal for any team but GM Steve Keim and the Cardinals front office made the most out of what they had at their disposal. Arizona was able to make use of their high draft picks and acquire talent with immense value throughout the draft. If they manage to hit on at least half of their picks they have a chance to completely turn this team around in the upcoming seasons.
To start things off the Cardinals decided to make a change at the quarterback position and by reuniting QB Kyler Murray and HC Kliff Kingsbury they have an opportunity to create something special. The biggest concern without a doubt is how Kyler will be able to adapt to having an inadequate offensive line, and in truth this is going to be an obstacle that will surely hold Arizona back in 2019. Although Murray is a gifted runner of the football he does the majority of his work from the pocket, and one of his strengths is the ability to maneuver pass rushers and find throwing lanes. He will be tasked with having to do this time and time again and it isn’t going to go away, but it’s definitely a skill he will have to improve on at the NFL level. Regardless Arizona needs to address the offensive line as soon as possible. Maybe their late round draft choices at O-line could pan out, but for the time being Murray will have to find a way to work around it.
With that out of the way let’s take a look at the pieces the Cardinals have in place around their rookie QB. Arizona traded back into the 2nd round to take WR Andy Isabella, a versatile slot receiver that can do wonders in the Air Raid system. Isabella has the speed and quickness to flourish under Kingsbury, and alongside WR Christian Kirk the Cardinals have a dangerous receiving tandem that can work the middle of the field. In addition, the team also drafted WRs Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson as well as TE Caleb Wilson adding significant depth to the receiving corps. Most importantly Kyler Murray will have a veteran pass catcher to rely on in WR Larry Fitzgerald who will serve as a much needed security blanket, as well as a favorable redzone target. It seems as if the list goes on and on, but the most critical component of this offense could be RB David Johnson. Hopefully Kingsbury can incorporate Johnson’s dual threat abilities into his offense and revive the career of a player who was once one of the NFL’s most electrifying running backs.
With all eyes on the offense, the defense is quietly turning into a high quality unit starting with several free agent additions primarily the new signal caller MLB Jordan Hicks. Hicks was a very promising talent in Philadelphia, he brings leadership and playmaking ability that was a major need for Arizona at the linebacker position. Speaking of linebackers and leadership the Cardinals got themselves a tremendous veteran, namely LB Terrell Suggs who will be able to guide this defense into becoming what it needs to be. As for the defensive line the Cards picked up DE Zach Allen out of Boston College, who can hopefully provide some depth and add some fire power to the D-line rotation. After all of this, the biggest improvement in 2019 will be the secondary as they signed S DJ Swearinger from Washington and CB Robert Alford from Atlanta, along with their 2nd round draft choice CB Byron Murphy. They were also lucky to land S Deonte Thompson the Bama product with massive upside that happened to fall to round 5 to Arizona after some injury speculation. Looking at all these new names added into the mix along with S Budda Baker and the veteran CB Patrick Peterson, this Arizona defense could go back to becoming what used to be the “No Fly Zone” and maybe even possibly a top 10 defense in 2019.
The Cardinals front office has done an unbelievable job of putting all this talent together, but from here on it’s all in the hands of the coaching staff. If Kliff Kingsbury’s system doesn’t succeed in the NFL things could get out of hand fast for Arizona. It all comes down to whether Kingsbury and Murray can figure it out, but as of now all signs point in the right direction for the Cardinals.
Photo Credit: USA TODAY – NINERS WIRE | Getty Images/Michael Reaves