Practice Squad Predictions: Defense

With only eight available spots, there will be a fierce competition during training camp to secure a spot on the practice squad. While there are many worthy offensive players, GM Rod Graves will also attempt to stash away young defenders with potential. Brad Wilbricht breaks down which defensive players might land on the Cardinals practice squad.

On the defensive line, rookies Keilen Dykes and Bryan Robinson are expected to make a push for a spot on the practice squad. Both players boast excellent potential but need to improve their fundamentals. The additions of DE Calais Campbell and DE Kenny Iwebema fortified the team's depth along defensive line, leaving little room for other newcomers.

With several free-agent veterans acquired this offseason, the Cardinals linebacking corps is loaded with experience and talent. Rookie OLB Chris Harrington has the best chance of the first-year players to lock-up a spot, leaving fellow rookie Ali Highsmith with an uphill battle during training camp. However, due to Highsmith's impressive minicamp performance, the Cardinals may be forced to find room for him.

Also in the mix at linebacker is second-year player David Holloway. Holloway is an excellent fit in the 3-4 defense and already has a year of experience in the Cardinals scheme. His ability to rush the passer off the edge could be well utilized by defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

The Cardinals secondary features outstanding playmakers but is very thin on depth. Incumbent starters at cornerback, Roderick Hood and Eric Green, should prove to be an adequate combination. Questions arise after Hood and Green as rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the only solidified backup.

CB Ralph Brown
(Jonathan Ferrey/Getty)

Cornerbacks Ralph Brown, Michael Adams, DeMario Minter and Travarous Bain are all pushing to be the Cardinals fourth cornerback. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt is hopeful one of these players will emerge and earn a spot on the active roster, while at least one other player will be placed on the practice squad.

With the return of SS Adrian Wilson and former cornerback Antrel Rolle moving to free safety, the team is set at the safety position. Further solidifying the Cardinals last line of defense is up-and-coming SS Aaron Francisco. Francisco was excellent in relief of Wilson last season and will continue to provide outstanding depth.

Veteran Oliver Celestin will back-up Rolle at free safety, leaving Matt Ware and rookie Dennis Keyes scrambling for a potential spot on the practice squad. Ware is a four-year NFL veteran that the Cardinals are comfortable with while Keyes displays excellent potential in the secondary.

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