Arizona Cardinals (Last years record 5-10-1)
The Arizona Cardinals were a big surprise early in the season as they won 3 of their first 7 games last season. However, it went spiraling downward near the end as they lost 6 in a row. This upcoming season the Cardinals do have a reason for optimism with their shrewd moves in free agency.
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First, the Cardinals pulled the heist of the century as they received DeAndre Hopkins from Houston in exchange for running back David Johnson who had been rapidly declining. Furthermore, they exchanged draft picks as Arizona gave Houston its 2nd round draft pick this year and a future 2021 4th round pick and Houston gave Arizona its 4th round pick this year.
Hopkins has been easily been a top 5 receiver in the last couple of years. He is coming off a bit of a down year though he did post 1,165 yards receiving and 104 catches. His presence will surely help Kyler Murray in the passing game and give him a reliable target outside the numbers.
Speaking of Arizona’s offense, it will rely heavily on 2019 number 1 overall pick Kyler Murray. Murray is a dual-threat quarterback who relies on mobility as well as getting out of the pocket to throw. He threw 3,722 yards in his rookie season with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Additionally, he ran for 544 yards on 93 rushes.
Murray and the Cardinals ranked 21st in offense last year with 341.7 yards per game. His numbers will surely improve with Hopkins presence and the return of Kenyan Drake who signed his one year tender of $8.4 million on Saturday.
Drake was a revelation for the Cardinals as soon as he was traded from Miami. He averaged 5.2 yards per rush and rushed for a whopping 643 yards in only 8 games. If Drake can continue his torrid play from last season, he will surely put the Cardinals in a good spot on early downs.
On the defensive side of the ball last year, Arizona was simply horrendous. They failed to generate much pressure and gave up the most yards per game at 402.0. Their corners, including star Patrick Peterson, were beat continuously, and they gave up gaping holes on the ground.
Luckily, in free agency, they addressed the need for defensive help by signing a couple of defensive players.
They started by signing Jordan Philips who had 9.5 sacks for the Bills last year. His presence upfront will surely help the Cards get more pressure up the middle and at the quarterback. They also signed pass rusher Devon Kennard formerly of the Lions and versatile linebacker DeVondre Campbell formerly of the Falcons.
Kennard is coming off a 7 sack season for the Lions. Campbell, on the other hand, led the Falcons with 129 tackles and even notched 2 picks and 2 sack as well.
With the acquisition of talented top 5 receiver DeAndre Hopkins and return of trade deadline acquisition Kenyan Drake, the Cardinals offense has tremendous upside given the fact that Kyler Murray will only be in his second year of development.
Defensively, their defensive player signings will improve their much-maligned defense of 2019. Arizona will be much improved and notch a 7-9 record for the 2020 season.