Steve Keim and the Arizona Cardinals have acted quickly to fill some major needs but after last years debacle and some bad draft classes, they still have some big holes to fill.
Here is my list of the top remaining needs in free agency for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals had famously mismanaged their #2 CB opposite Patrick Peterson for the last 3+ years. They finally addressed that spot in a major way with the signing of Robert Alford. But, if Steve Keim is ready to light a victory cigar and put his feet up on the desk after that one signing, the Cardinals defense could still be in big trouble. With news that Budda Baker will move back to his original position of safety, the Cardinals have a glaring need at slot corner. Last year, NFL offenses played three WR’s on 64% of all offensive snaps. Running backs, like Arizona’s own David Johnson, are increasingly running routes out of the backfield. Tight Ends continue to confound defenses. A slot corner can be responsible for covering everyone from David Johnson to Travis Kelce to Adam Thielen. Right now, the Cardinals don’t have a proven one. And that needs to change before the draft or it will still feel like Groundhog Day for the Cardinals secondary.
Yes, the Cardinals already landed a solid upgrade in Jordan Hicks in free agency but their work should not be done at the position. Hicks has well documented durability concerns, having only finished a full season once in his 4 year career but also questions should still remain about Haason Reddick. Penciling Reddick into a starting ILB position is a mistake. I believe Reddick’s coverage flaws and tendency for mental errors will put him back at OLB as a situational pass rusher. Really, a duo of Hicks and Josh Bynes would’ve made more sense but the Cardinals cut Bynes for some odd reason before free agency. Now, they may need to overspend at the position just to have two starting caliber ILB’s or hope a mid round pick can offer quality depth. One name that would make a lot of sense was the recently cut Zach Brown, formerly of the Redskins.
The Cardinals will almost certainly use a draft pick in the first three rounds on a WR for the third consecutive year but they still need a viable veteran to round out their WR room. After boasting about the quality of their WR depth the last two years, only to see if become one of the worst in football I’m not convinced the Cardinals are willing to do what it takes to fortify the position. Yes, having Larry Fitzgerald back is huge. And yes, Christian Kirk was very promising as a rookie. But after that, there’s a steep drop off. Adding Mike Wallace, Donte Moncrief or Andre Holmes wouldn’t cause anyone to Pipe It Up but all three would qualify as quality depth.