The Arizona Cardinals have been at or near the bottom of almost every ranking and list this offseason. However, in Pro Football Focus’ offseason rankings for all 32 NFL teams’ linebacking corps, Arizona’s comes in at No. 23.
It is a unit with many questions.
The Cardinals continue to search for answers up front. Incumbents Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons haven’t quite lived up to their first-round billing. Both are incredibly athletic, but their talents are far more suited for coverage than stopping the run.
Simmons, in particular, is being treated more like a slot corner as time goes on. Collins will need to be more physical after seeing his run-defense grade drop by more than 25 points from 2021 to 2022.
Joining Collins in the middle will be a key member of the NFC champion Eagles, Kyzir White. White is a consistent, durable performer who posted a career-best 67.2 grade in 2022. He doesn’t excel in any one area, but he’ll add stability to a Cardinals defense that badly needs it.
Simmons, though, no longer is considered a linebacker. He has moved to safety. Collins has apparently moved to the edge, based on offseason practice reps.
White is a nice addition, but it is unknown who will line up with him with Simmons as a defensive back and if Collins has moved to the edge.
Will it be Josh Woods or Zeke Turner, both special teams studs, who fill the role? Will it be former Green Bay Packers starter Krys Barnes, or will rookie Owen Pappoe get playing time in his first NFL season?