Arizona Cardinals Top-10 Players

Whether the Cardinals dominate the NFC West once again is up to the core players on this year's squad. The Cardinals are stacked with talent and could be recharged for another playoff run. AZRedReport.com breaks down the players with the greatest potential to shape the franchise's 2009 season. Here are the top-10 most vital players wearing the red and white.

10. K Neil Rackers:

Momentum often swings on the leg of the kicker. Rackers must not return to his inconsistent ways if the Cardinals are going to be successful. Missing a key kick after a hard fought drive almost always has a deflating effect on the offense. Rackers' ability to help the Cardinals cash in after a solid drive that comes up just short is why he cracked the top-10 of this list.

9. OL Levi Brown:

As fragile as Kurt Warner is, it is imperative to protect him from the pass rush. Brown has to continue to prove that the Cardinals made the right decision by selecting him fifth overall in the 2007 draft. He showed durability in his sophomore campaign by starting all 16 games after fighting injuries during his rookie season. Brown is crucial to the Cardinals regaining a running game and keeping Warner from ending his career on a stretcher.

8. RB Tim Hightower/ RB Beanie Wells:

This running back duo must step up to fill the shoes of Edgerrin James. Some Cardinal fans would argue that will not be too hard to do, but his presence in the playoffs cannot be overlooked. Wells will be expected to split the load with Hightower. This combo could be the solution to reviving the run game by giving it a healthy dose of youth. Hightower must improve his yards per carry and Wells will need to display durability if the Cardinals are going to be successful on the ground.

7. LB Karlos Dansby:

Dansby is the one of the core players on the Cardinals speedy defense. His ability to accept his contract situation and perform at a high level is key to another high caliber year. Last season Dansby racked up 119 tackles four sacks and two interceptions last season and should improve on those numbers in 2009. At age 27, he is in the midst of his prime and will be a force for quite a few more years.

6. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie:

Ro' Cro displayed his immense talent all throughout the second half of last season. He has already impressed veterans by his progress in practice this year and will hopefully be the top tier corner that the Cardinals have been missing since Aeneas Williams departed. His speed adds to an already deadly secondary and he has a chance to lead the NFC West in interceptions.

5. DT Darnell Dockett:

This off season has seen a few of the Cardinals' regulars upset about their contract situation. Dockett is one of the most consistent players on the defense and it is imperative that the Cardinals address that situation as soon as possible. Dockett worked opponents for 49 tackles and four sacks, but the importance of his disruptive presence cannot be measured only by stats.

4. WR Anquan Boldin:

Leading the way of unhappy Cardinal veterans, Boldin's contract squabbles have hung over the franchise for nearly 12 months. A relationship that at one point was considered damaged beyond repair, has now reopened for discussion. Boldin's toughness provides a much needed edge to the offense, but his attitude could lead to problems down the road. Based on stats, Boldin is easily one of the top five players on the franchise. If the Cardinals can bring a change of heart to Boldin, the dynamic duo of Fitz and Boldin should return as strong as ever.

3. S Adrian Wilson:

Wilson is one of the few core players that seem to be completely satisfied these days. His fat contract (five years, $39 million) certainly has a lot to do with that. Wilson's ability to play both the run and the pass is the most important element in the Cardinals defense. His athletic skills are tops in the NFL.

2. QB Kurt Warner:

"Father Time" returns for another season in the desert, ready to prove the doubters wrong all over again. Warner guided the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in the modern era and did so when everyone thought he was past his prime. Warner snatched the starting position from a less than determined Matt Leinart and never looked back. In the weak NFC West conference, Warner has a great chance to repeat his success from 2009.

1. WR Larry Fitzgerald:

Fitz is the face of the Arizona Cardinals. His high-flying catches and acrobatic leaps frequently appear on Sportscenter. The Cardinals top ranked offense runs through the 6'4 Fitzgerald. Still young and with nearly unlimited potential, the Cardinals have many seasons of awe inspiring catches ahead. Without a doubt, number eleven is the most important player on the team. His talent helps spread the defense, control the run game, and provide better passing opportunities for Warner. If the Cardinals are going to be the same team that shocked the world in 2009, they will need Fitzgerald to rise to the occasion once again.


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