The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is upon us and much of the focus will be on the upcoming draft, but it’s never too early to take a peek at the new league year and free agency. The Cardinals are have already been active adding guys to the roster since the end of the 2018 campaign. The team signed CB Robert Alford, LB Brooks Reed, and TE Charles Clay. All three were released by their respective teams which allowed the Cardinals to officially sign them to contracts. Alford was the only who received a multi-year deal as he will man the corner position opposite of all-pro Patrick Peterson. Reed will compete for a spot in the linebacker corps, while Clay will look to prove himself on his one year deal after not producing much in Buffalo. Another under the radar acquisition was made when the team claimed a familiar face off waivers in DJ Swearinger. Swearinger was really able to turn his career around in Arizona and hopes to cash in after the 2019 season, as he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. Although they’ve been active, here’s a quick look at some guys the Cardinals should consider on both sides of the ball.
Brown is coming off his best season as a pro with the New England Patriots. The Cardinals offensive line was a mess in 2018 and in order to protect the future of the franchise, whether that’s Josh Rosen or Kyler Murray they need to upgrade the left tackle position. According to Pro Football Focus, the Cardinals offensive line ranked last in the entire league. They did make an excellent hire in offensive line coach Sean Kugler, who is well respected around the league, but he needs the front office to upgrade the talent in his room. Brown is only 25 and he took his game to another level in the playoffs, where he was the highest rated tackle according to PFF.
Rookie Christian Kirk flashed as a rookie and Larry Fitzgerald is back for his 16th season, but the Cardinals need to add more to the receiver position. Crowder has had some injury concerns throughout his career but when he is available he can be among the better slot receivers in the game. He can be a high volume catch guy and also produce some quality YAC when healthy. Everyone will be tuned in to how Kliff Kingsbury will adjust to the NFL, and he’s definitely hoping that GM Steve Keim adds to his arsenal by fall.
*For the sake of this article, the Cardinals will select Nick Bosa with the first overall pick in the draft.
New defensive coordinator Vance Joseph reportedly will be running a 3-4 scheme, meaning Chandler Jones and potential first overall pick Nick Bosa will be standing up as outside linebackers. Barrett played under Joseph in Denver in a limited role. You can never have too many pass rushers, but Barrett is an all-around solid player. PFF had him graded slightly better than rookie sensation Bradley Chubb, but he also didn’t have nearly as many snaps as Chubb.
Tre Boston is an unrestricted free agent, and despite playing well for the Cardinals in 2018, Clinton-Dix could be a nice addition the back end for Arizona. Clinton-Dix was acquired at the deadline by the Redskins and struggled to adjust on the fly, but he’s still a very good safety. Safety is a premier position in today’s game and the Cardinals could pair Swearinger and Ha Ha again as they were in Washington.
Everyone will be tuned in to how Kliff Kingsbury will adjust to the NFL, and he’s definitely hoping that GM Steve Keim adds to his arsenal by fall.
The Cardinals could also explore potential trade opportunities as the new league year approaches. Will they reach out to the Steelers about Antonio Brown? That would be a huge addition to the team and Patrick Peterson already started his recruiting of AB a few weeks ago on Twitter. There is no doubt the Cardinals will increase their talent level by next season, and if some of the early signings are any indication of the offseason to come for Arizona, it will be a fun spring for Cardinal fans.