2019 NFL Power Rankings: Who heads into summer at No. 1?
By Ian Cummings
No. 29 – Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals will be one of the most enthralling experiments in the NFL in 2019, and maybe even beyond. How long the project lasts depends on how well Kliff Kingsbury can translate his philosophy to the NFL.
Given the sorry state of the Cardinals’ franchise when Kingsbury was handed the keys, Kingsbury could be given a lengthy incubation period. But while the Cardinals aren’t ready to win this year, they did add some compelling talent in the 2019 offseason.
Starting with the obvious, Kyler Murray is in Arizona, and he’s very good. An extra year, with a better supporting cast, may have unearthed Josh Rosen’s true potential, but Kingsbury wasn’t willing to wait, and so he chose the inefficient route, using a second consecutive first-round pick on a signal caller. It could ultimately pay off; Murray is an elite talent with the potential to transcend his surroundings. But it’s a gamble. Only that is certain.
If the Cardinals can find ultimate solace in anything, it’s this: They added substantial value throughout the rest of the draft. Getting the draft’s best cornerback, Byron Murphy, in Round 2. Getting one of the draft’s most exciting receivers, Hakeem Butler, in Round 4. Supplementing their unit with talented players like Andy Isabella and Zach Allen. They set the stage for a bright future.
That said, the Cardinals aren’t ready to win yet. Their defense still lacks talent overall, and their offensive line is still in shambles. And there’s no guarantee that all the pieces come together in the long run. But this was always a long-term project for Steve Keim and company. 2019 won’t always be pretty. Even so, it won’t be the cliff’s edge for Arizona. Not yet.