As the Arizona Cardinals begin their quest to cut the team's roster size from 90 to 53 by the end of the preseason, we're taking a look at every player at each position group and determining their odds of making the final cut.
Player: Trevor Knight
Contract status: 2017-$555,000
2016 season quick review: Knight spent the 2016 season as the starting quarterback for Kevin Sumlin's Texas A&M Aggies, leading the program to an 8-5 record and a fourth place finish in the SEC West. The 2016 campaign marked Knight's lone season in College Station, Texas, as he transferred away from the Oklahoma program as a graduate following the 2015 season when Baker Mayfield took over as the Sooners' starting quarterback. Last year offered Knight the most extensive experience of his collegiate career, and he capitalized by throwing for a career-high 2,432 yards and 19 touchdowns while only throwing seven interceptions. Knight's downfall with the Aggies was his accuracy, as the 6-foot-1 signal-caller completed just 53 percent of his passes last season, which marked the third straight season his completion rate regressed.
Projected roster status: The Cardinals have committed to bringing in a new quarterback in each year of general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians' tenure, and in 2017, the team's decision-makers settled on Knight. Though Knight has plenty of intriguing traits and could make significant progress with NFL coaching, he doesn't project to make the Cardinals' 53-man roster.
Projected depth chart status: With four more experienced quarterbacks ahead of him on Arizona's depth chart, Knight is currently slotted into the fifth position, which isn't exactly an ideal slot for an undrafted free agent to make inroads. The best case scenario for Knight is that the Cardinals give him an opportunity in the fourth quarter of either of the team's first two preseason games, and he shows enough to convince the team to seriously consider rewarding him with a practice squad role.
CardinalsSource.com analysis: When Knight signed with the Cardinals following the NFL Draft this April, he entered a relatively advantageous situation for an undrafted free agent quarterback. Starter Carson Palmer is expected to retire in the near future, while primary backup Drew Stanton showcased accuracy issues last season. Perhaps most importantly, third-string option Zac Dysert has spent the last four seasons bouncing around the league, and he represented Knight's primary competition for a practice squad opportunity. Shortly after the draft, however, Arizona signed veteran Blaine Gabbert, which complicates Knight's situation because it appears as though the Cardinals are going to have an intense competition for the right to serve as Palmer's backup. What that means is that reps for Dysert and Knight will likely be limited in training camp, which forces Knight to make the most of the reps he's receiving in minicamps and OTAs, which are taking place when Knight hasn't had an opportunity to develop a comprehensive knowledge of the playbook. Though it's entirely possible Knight could end up leading Arizona's practice squad this season, the opportunities he'll have to showcase his talents and develop on the job during training camp will likely decrease as a result of the franchise's decision to sign Gabbert.
Overall value: Much like any undrafted free agent, Knight represents an incredible value to the Cardinals' franchise if he's able to progress and make the team, because he'll make the rookie minimum in 2017. Though it's highly unlikely Knight carves out a spot on Arizona's 53-man roster, every NFL team's bottom line benefits when they're able to sign and keep undrafted free agents.