The Arizona Cardinals' 53-man roster is tentatively finalized but more changes could be set to take place this week. When taking a closer look, there are some rather large imbalances on the depth chart. Certain areas need to be enhanced while others can be trimmed to accommodate the changes.
The Cardinals currently have 11 defensive backs slotted on the 53-man roster consisting of six cornerbacks and five safeties. Two players who were surprises to make the roster – CB A.J. Jefferson and S Hamza Abdullah – might want to hold off on getting too comfortable quite yet.
Jefferson was kept around due to his size (6-foot, 190 pounds) and potential down the road. Meanwhile, Abdullah might have stuck to make sure second-year safety Rashad Johnson continues to progress. At some point during the year, the decision to drop either Abdullah or Johnson will undoubtedly come up.
Other areas – specifically linebacker – need reinforcements and either Jefferson or Abdullah would be the first to go given the abundance of depth at their positions. Help is needed both inside and outside as Arizona is set to begin the year with just seven total linebackers. This particularly is an area of concern given the team runs the 3-4 defense, in which linebackers are a premium.
Rookie Daryl Washington has helped alleviate some of the concerns but can't be fully depended on at this point. Veteran Paris Lenon and Reggie Walker – entering his second season in the NFL – are the only other two options. Pago Togafau and Monty Beisel were both released over the weekend, so the coaching staff is obviously comfortable with this group of three. However, look for another addition to supplement their cause soon.
On the offensive line, Ben Claxton appears to have earned a spot, but the team might be searching elsewhere for upgrades. Claxton was a long shot to make the roster and it was surprising to see him selected over Herman Johnson. Johnson did land on the practice squad and it might just be a matter of time before he takes Claxton's place. Should Johnson continue to manage his weight issues, that move could come sooner than later.
Outside of Claxton, most of the other spots on offense are fairly secure. WR Max Komar was one of four undrafted free agents to make the squad and his role with the offense is probably the least stable. With six wideouts on the 53-man roster, it's another place where a cut will be made to free up room elsewhere. In addition to Komar, fellow rookie Andre Roberts' job could be at risk in the near future if he doesn't demonstrate improvement.
Assuming Roberts – a 2010 third-round draft pick – is safe, the top 50 on the roster is pretty solid. Newcomers CB Brandon McDonald and LB Cyril Obiozor are the latest additions to the team, so they'll need to prove themselves all over again in Arizona. McDonald was a productive member of the Cleveland Browns' secondary while Obiozor's skill set fits in well with the 3-4 defense, something he displayed in the same scheme with the Green Bay Packers.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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