After the Arizona Cardinals finished off the preseason with a 34-24 win over the Denver Broncos Thursday night, one thing became painfully obvious.
The Cardinals had a desperate need at cornerback, as veteran Justin Bethel still isn't 100 percent, third round draft choice Brandon Williams doesn't have the consistency necessary to start, and former undrafted free agent Cariel Brooks needs even more work than Williams.
General manager Steve Keim took another step to address the Cardinals' most glaring need on Friday, bringing in Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper in a trade that forced the Cardinals to part with a 2018 conditional draft choice.
Keim made multiple efforts to add depth to the Cardinals' cornerback unit over the last month and a half as he added veteran free agents Mike Jenkins and Alan Ball to the mix in hopes that one or both of the players would pan out. Unfortunately for Keim, Jenkins tore his ACL against the Houston Texans in the third preseason contest and Ball didn't look prepared in the reps he took before he suffered an injury that hurt his roster hopes as well.
With the deadline for NFL teams to finalize their 53-man rosters looming at 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Cardinals had little wiggle room to make a move that would change the complexion of their situation at cornerback. Ultimately, the Cardinals elected to trade for Cooper, who was already on waivers and en route to being released by the Chiefs if a trade did not materialize.
Cooper was a seventh round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 out of Rutgers, but was cut when the 49ers reduced their roster from 75 players down to 53 that season. The Chiefs then claimed Cooper off of waivers, and he went on to earn the organization's rookie of the year award.
Cooper's rookie season was his best in the NFL, as he started six games, played in all 16 contests, recorded three interceptions and racked up 42 tackles. Since his rookie year, though, Cooper's production has been in decline, as he started just four games in 2014 before playing in only nine and starting a lone contest a year ago.
During the preseason, the Chiefs attempted to move Cooper to safety to capitalize on the 6-foot-2, 192-pounder's size, but by the end of camp, Kansas City had all but declared the experiment a failure as the team waived him.
It's unclear whether the Cardinals view Cooper as a potential starter for their week one contest against New England, but the trade for Cooper indicates the team is unlikely to keep Brooks on the active roster this season.