Newest Cardinals look to make an impact

The Arizona Cardinals upgraded and replaced personnel at some important positions (most notably linebacker and along the offensive and defensive lines) ... something that will be key to the team's success in 2015.

Newcomers

Player Profile: LB Sean Weatherspoon The Arizona Cardinals desperately needed help at the inside linebacker position and Weatherspoon will have a chance to be an impact player in 2015. Weatherspoon’s presence will be particularly important as Arizona awaits the fate of Daryl Washington.

Player Profile: OG Mike Iupati Iupati is a mauler upfront in the trenches, but his skill set doesn’t exactly fit that of Bruce Arians’ offense. Arians like to air it out and move the ball through the air while Iupati’s strong point is run blocking.

Defections

DT Dan Williams Williams was an excellent fit in Arizona’s hybrid 4-3 / 3-4 defensive scheme and his size alone will be difficult to replace. The Cardinals have enlisted the help of several along the defensive line but they don’t have true replacement.

DT Darnell Dockett Dockett was the heart and soul of Arizona’s defense for years but it was time for him to move on. Dockett’s abilities been on the downswing and the Cardinals weren’t too concerned with him signing with the division rival 49ers.

Analysis: In addition to Weatherspoon and Iupati, who both filled vital needs for the Cardinals, the team will need to replace both Williams and Dockett. It will be a committee approach with Williams be the tougher of the two to replace.

Dockett's skill set had been declining but Williams was an absolute beast upfront, largely in part do to his massive stature.

Keep an eye on rookie fourth-round pick Rodney Gunter as a hybrid type to try and fill both of these areas - but especially Dockett's.

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