My Five Biggest Surprises with the 53 Man Roster

The roster has been set, the Arizona Cardinals have narrowed the team down to 53. I have to admit, there were a lot of surprises for me with this roster. Let me start by saying no, I am not surprised that Mike Glennon is still on the roster. I didn’t see any team jumping up to trade for him and it would have been insane if the Cardinals had two rookies behind Sam Bradford to start the season. There were, however, some players that were retained that shocked me…

J.J. Nelson
With the preseason that Nelson had, many of us thought that J.J. would be looking for a new team by the time cuts were over. Yet here we are. This shows me that Coach Wilks likes the speed he brings that much. Hopefully, he can be used in a way that will give the offense more completions than incompletions. Does this mean that Steve Wilks will dial into the “no risk it, no biscuit” philosophy? Not so fast. I expect Mike McCoy to use Nelson in the slot in hopes of his speed catching opposing defenders off-guard.

Chris Campbell
It’s not entirely to see teams cut players that they just drafted months prior. This is no different. Chris Campbell had been praised by the coaching staff on numerous occasions for his style of play. It seems like he was a really tough cut to make (especially with the next member of this list making the team). The thought here might be that Steve Keim and company are really hoping to retain Chris Campbell on the practice squad and develop him further.

Brandon Williams
Another player that many of us wrote off to be a sure cut from the roster, Brandon Williams remains. The Cardinals third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has struggled to make it on to the field since being drafted. I can only assume that the coaches wanted to keep Brandon for depth and/or the like his size and upside. I don’t expect him to see more playing time than Jamar Taylor or Bene Benwikere. All fans can hope for here is that Brandon will hopefully gel with this new staff and find a way to improve on coverage.

Cap Capi
This is a name you frequently heard in the preseason games, constantly making plays. However, in the past seasons, he has struggled to make an impact. The new coaching staff ultimately decided to keep Vontarrius Dora instead, who had an equally (if not more) impressive offseason. Capi will likely be swooped up by another team, hungry for pass rushers. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the defensive lineman room is among the strongest. This could have been a case of Dora “stealing” his spot.

Brice Butler
When Brice Butler was signed in the offseason, many fans thought “ok, this is our #2 receiver.” But Butler had failed to show up in the preseason games, only playing a handful due to minor injuries. Look at the game versus the New Orleans Saints, Chad Williams and Christian Kirk showed up in a big way, big enough to secure their spots in the wide receiver room. Certainly disappointing for Butler, who had fully bet on himself to be a true #2 receiver in this league.


Notable Mentions

Elijah Penny
Penny definitely was edged out by the veteran Derrick Coleman. I expect and hope that the Arizona Cardinals will be able to retain Penny on the practice squad for some great depth in the running back room.

Scooby Wright
Scooby had always been a player that stood out to me on special teams. He was always willing to try to outwork anyone in his way. Among one of the first announced cuts, you can probably expect for him to be picked up by another team on waivers.


Overall I really like this roster. I think there are certain weaknesses (ie. the wide receiver room), but I think the coaching staff is confident that they have the players with the right “Cardinal DNA” that Wilks has been emphasizing. Best of luck to our 2018 Arizona Cardinals!

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