53-man roster projection 3.0

The Arizona Cardinals have until Saturday at 1 p.m. to finalize their 53-man roster.

Following Thursday's fourth and final preseason contest for the Arizona Cardinals, CardinalsSource is making our final 53-man roster projections ahead of the NFL deadline for teams to finalize their regular season rosters.

Below are the players we foresee earning a spot with Arizona come Saturday.


Carson Palmer Drew Stanton

Matt Barkley played well in his final preseason performance and has the skills to help an NFL team, but the Cardinals have too much talent to keep more than two quarterbacks.

Running back

David Johnson Chris Johnson
Andre Ellington Stepfan Taylor

Undrafted free agent Elijhaa Penny made an excellent case for the practice squad with a 100-yard effort against Denver, and it looks like Taylor will beat out Kerwynn Williams for the last slot.

Wide receiver

Larry Fitzgerald Michael Floyd John Brown
J.J. Nelson Jaron Brown Brittan Golden

We thought undrafted rookie Chris Hubert might sneak into the final spot, but Hubert is probably the eighth best receiver the Cardinals had in camp. Jaxon Shipley belongs on an NFL roster this year.

Tight end

Jermaine Gresham Darren Fells
Troy Niklas Ifeanyi Momah

Undrafted rookie Hakeem Valles looks like a keeper for the practice squad, but Momah's spot is far from certain because of needs Arizona has on the defensive side of the ball. 

Offensive line

Jared Veldheer Mike Iupati A.Q. Shipley Evan Mathis D.J. Humphries
Earl Watford Evan Boehm Cole Toner

Our last projections included reserve guard Antoine McClain, but with more pressing needs on defense, Arizona can go with eight linemen, especially considering how well Boehm and Toner performed against Denver. Tackle John Wetzel is another candidate here.

Defensive line

Rodney Gunter Corey Peters Calais Campbell Frostee Rucker
Ed Stinson Xavier Williams Josh Mauro Robert Nkemdiche

We've stayed consistent in projecting the Cardinals to keep seven linemen, but with a handful of talented young players like Gunter, Williams and Nkemdiche, it will be challenging for Arizona to resist keeping eight. Red Bryant may steal the final spot from Williams.

Outside linebackers

Chandler Jones Markus Golden
Alex Okafor Shaq Riddick

Injuries on Thursday night caused us to change our projections here, as both Kareem Martin and Tristan Okpalaugo left the game. Okpalaugo's injury looked fairly serious, while it was difficult to tell how much pain Martin was in. Either way, it's impossible to forecast an injured player's roster chances, so we inserted Riddick into our projections.

Inside linebackers

Kevin Minter Deone Bucannon
Alani Fua Chris Clemons
Lamar Louis

During Bruce Arians' tenure as head coach, the Cardinals have almost always kept three or four linebackers on the team's active roster. Louis, however, is a linebacker in title only, as he figures to serve exclusively on special teams. Clemons is a converted safety who can back up Bucannon at the Money linebacker spot.


Patrick Peterson Brandon Williams
Justin Bethel Cariel Brooks 

The Cardinals are in trouble at cornerback, as Mike Jenkins would have a roster spot sewed up if he was healthy. We should clarify that we don't expect Brooks to hang onto his roster spot all season, as the Cardinals may even look for an outside option before Saturday's deadline to finalize the 53-man roster. 


Tyrann Mathieu Tyvon Branch
Tony Jefferson D.J. Swearinger
Marqui Christian

One of the only defensive position groups where we have no changes to our roster projection. These five players have been on our list throughout camp, as we expect the Cardinals to keep a longer list of safeties than most teams because Arizona plays so much nickel defense.


Chandler Catanzaro Drew Butler Kameron Canaday

Canaday officially beat out fellow undrafted rookie Daniel Dillon for the long-snapper job after the Cardinals' third preseason game. 


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