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Predicting the Cardinals’ Final 53-Man Roster

UPDATE: The players that have been cut as of Friday (8/3) are noted by a strike-through on their names.  Bubble players that are now confirmed on the roster are in parenthesis.

Considering the uncertainty surrounding the Cardinals right now, the task I’ve undertaken here seems like a highly speculative endeavor.  Nonetheless, it seems appropriate at this point to give it a shot.  The numbering at each position is in no particular order; here goes.

Quarterbacks (4)

  1. Derek Anderson
  2. Matt Leinart
  3. (John Skelton)
  4. Max Hall

Analysis:  Honestly, at this point, who knows.  I don’t see the Cards being able to trade Leinart.  If that’s the case, then I doubt they will release him without a veteran presence to back up Anderson.  In addition, I don’t think the Cardinals want to release Hall or Skelton as both impressed.  That’s my bold prediction: the Cards carry four QBs into the regular season.

I Might be Wrong About: The whole thing.  As funny as it seems, Anderson is the only guy that’s 100% going to be on the final roster.  It’s very irregular for a team to carry four QBs.  Since Hall was the undrafted guy here, I think he’d be the first to go if Leinart sticks around.  Skeltonis the teams’ fifth-round selection and the Cards specifically traded to move up and grab him.  I doubt they would release Skelton.

Running Backs (5)

  1. Tim Hightower, RB
  2. Beanie Wells, RB
  3. Jason Wright, RB, KR
  4. LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, KR
  5. Reagan Maui’a, FB

Analysis: With some injuries at full-back, that picture is much clearer that it otherwise would be.  All four halfbacks return from last year’s roster.  I believe Alfonso Smith will get cut; he never really had a chance to make the team.  In addition, I don’t think recent addition FB Charles Scott will make the final cut.

Wide Receivers (6)

  1. Larry Fitzgerald
  2. Steve Breaston
  3. Early Doucet
  4. Stephen Williams
  5. Andre Roberts, PR
  6. (Max Komar)

Analysis: This was a very interesting position during training camp and the pre-season.  Undrafted rookie Stephen Williams was dazzling and I believe he played his way right into the 4th spot behind Doucet.  Third-round selection Andre Roberts has had his share of drops, but the Cards aren’t going to cut a high round draft pick so early.  Finally, Max Komarmight make the final cut.  Along with Williams, Komar has been a consistent threat during the pre-season.  If Komar ends up getting cut, it won’t be for a lack of production or effort.  There’s no room for Onrea Jones, Ed Gant, Isaiah Williams or Mike Jones.

I Might be Wrong About: Max Komar, but I hope I’m right.  I think Komar, an undraftedrookie, definitely belongs on the final roster, but the Cardinals might not see it that way withthe talent in front of him on the depth chart.

Tight Ends (3)

  1. Ben Patrick
  2. Steven Spach
  3. Anthony Becht

Analysis: I think the Cards will go with the exact same tight ends from last year’s squad.  7th-round pick Jim Dray will likely get cut, but may end up on the practice squad.

Offensive Line (9)

  1. Levi Brown, T
  2. Alan Faneca, G
  3. Lyle Sendlein, C
  4. Ben Claxton, C, G
  5. *Reggie Wells, G – Traded to the Eagles
  6. Deuce Lutui, G
  7. Brandon Keith, T
  8. Herman Johnson, G, T
  9. Rex Hadnot, G

Analysis: With Casey Knips and David Moosman already cut, I think Jonathan Palmer, Tom Pestock, and Jeremy Bridges will be the last linemen to go, bringing the number down to nine.  The Cards are really deep with offensive lineman this year, especially at guard.

I Might be Wrong About: Reggie Wells and Jeremy Bridges.  Some rumors have started that Wells, along with Leinart, is on the trading block.  Lutui has been taking more and more playing time from Wells.  In addition, I’ve always felt that Lutuiis the better guard anyway.  As a result, this group could be cut down to eight if Wells is moved.  In addition, Bridges may stick around in order to provide veteran depthat tackle.  Brandon Keith and Herman Johnson are inexperienced tackles, so Bridges may be necessary as a guiding hand.

Defensive Lineman (7)

  1. Darnell Dockett, DT
  2. Calais Campbell, DE
  3. Dan Williams, DT
  4. Kenny Iwebema, DE
  5. Bryan Robinson, DT
  6. Gabe Watson, DT
  7. Alan Branch, DT

Analysis: This off-season, the Cardinals have suddenly become very deep at this position.  Dockett, Campbell, Williams, and Robinson are mainstays.  After that, Iwebema, Branch,  and Watson could find themselves gone in a heartbeat.  In the end, however, I think they will all make the opening roster.  Jeremy Clark and John Fletcher, though, won’t be so lucky; they’re out.

I Might be Wrong About: Gabe Watson.  Seven defensive lineman seems like a lot.  I think Watson would be the first to go.  I’m not sure the Cardinals would want to carry him, especially with Robinson as the starter and Williams pushing for playing time.  Watson, therefore, seems to be around in case Robinson gets hurt and Williams can’t get it done as a rookie.

Linebackers (7)

  1. Joey Porter, OLB
  2. Clark Haggans, OLB
  3. Cody Brown, OLB
  4. Daryl Washington, ILB
  5. Will Davis, ILB
  6. Paris Lenon, ILB
  7. Monty Beisel, ILB

Analysis: I don’t think Gerald Hayes will be activated by the first week of the season.  Daryl Washington will take his spot and Monty Beisel will remain on the roster as another option at ILB.  When Hayes comes back, I believe that Beisel will be gone.  In any event Pago Togafau, Stevie Baggs, Mark Washington, Reggie Walker, and Chris Johnson will likely be cut.

I Might be Wrong About: Gerald Hayes and Reggie Walker.  The veteran may make it back in time for week 1, which would obviously change the linebacker landscape quite a bit.  If Hayes is back, I expect Monty Beiselto be gone.  In addition, regardless of Hayes’ status, the Cards may want to keep Walker around to provide some more depth.

Defensive Backs (9)

  1. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB
  2. Greg Toler, CB
  3. Adrian Wilson, SS
  4. Kerry Rhodes, FS
  5. Michael Adams, CB
  6. Matt Ware, SS
  7. Rashad Johnson, FS
  8. Hamza Abdullah, SS
  9. Trumaine McBride, CB

Analysis: Jorrick Calvin, the team’s sixth-round pick, has been traded to the Eagles, so the only men cut will most likely be Trevor Ford, Marshay Green, and A.J. Jefferson.  Trumaine McBride will most likely stick around as a veteran presence to back up Greg Toler at CB.  Justin Miller is also intriguing as a punt returner, but I don’t think he’ll make it onto the roster.

I Might be Wrong About: Marshay Green.  The cornerbackposition opposite DRC has been a battle ground during the entire off-season.  While Green has almost no shot at that position in the immediate future, the Cards may want him to stick around as a punt returner, special teams player, and depth provider for the time being.  If Green does make the roster, I think either McBride, Abdullah or both are in serious jeopardy.

Special Teams (3)

  1. Ben Graham, P
  2. Jay Feely, PK
  3. Mike Leach, LS

Analysis: It’s pretty self explanatory here.

Top 10 Bubble Boys (in order of likelihood to make the roster):

  1. (John Skelton, QB)
  2. Max Hall, QB
  3. (Max Komar, WR)
  4. Trumaine McBride, CB
  5. Monty Beisel, ILB
  6. Marshay Green, CB
  7. Hamza Abdullah, SS
  8. Cody Brown, ILB
  9. Justin Miller, CB
  10. Stevie Baggs, OLB

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