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USA Today Sports Media Group
Jess Root

Final Cardinals 53-man roster prediction before final cuts

The Arizona Cardinals played their final preseason game Saturday night and now must start trimming the roster down to 53 players. It won’t be easy. They have a couple of very deep rooms and will end up cutting or trading quality players.

How will the roster potentially look after Tuesday afternoon?

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Based on what we know and what we have seen in the preseason and training camp, here is my final attempt to project the 53-man roster.

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Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy, Trace McSorley

Keeping two quarterbacks is a much better way to manage the roster, but between Colt McCoy’s arm soreness that kept him out of practice almost all month and the fact the Cardinals like to have three quarterbacks, this feels like it is what it is going to be.

Perhaps they risk exposing McSorley to waivers to bring him to the practice squad but perhaps they like Jarrett Guarantano enough to be comfortable with bringing him back to the practice squad if McSorley is claimed.

Running back

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

James Conner, Eno Benjamin, Darrel Williams, Keaontay Ingram

The odd man out is still Jonathan Ward, who has been a core special teams player the last two years.

Williams’ salary is nearly all guaranteed and he is the only proven NFL commodity in the room other than Conner. Benjamin was the star of the offseason and Ingram has a higher upside on offense but can also play special teams.

Wide receiver

 Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Marquise Brown, A.J. Green. Rondale Moore, Antoine Wesley, Greg Dortch (DeAndre Hopkins will not count)

Hopkins will not count against the final 53. With three tight ends who can play, the Cardinals opt for only five receivers here.

This assumes Wesley will be healthy enough to practice and play. Despite his strong preseason, Andy Isabella doesn’t make the team because he adds no special teams value to be the sixth receiver.

Tight end

Zach Ertz, Maxx Williams. Trey McBride

No need to elaborate here.

Offensive line

 (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh, Rodney Hudson, Will Hernandez, Kelvin Beachum, Cody Ford, Josh Jones, Sean Harlow, Lecitus Smith, Marquis Hayes

Ideally, they only keep nine linemen, but Ford is likely starting the season as the starter. They don’t try to get Hayes or Smith onto the practice squad.

Justin Murray is replaced by Ford.

Defensive line

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Watt, Zach Allen, Rashard Lawrence, Leki Fotu, Michael Dogbe, Antwaun Woods

Woods gets the nod over Jonathan Ledbetter and undrafted rookie Manny Jones, although Jones is a possibility. Woods’ experience gives them veteran depth.

Outside linebacker

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Markus Golden, Devon Kennard, Dennis Gardeck, Cameron Thomas, Myjai Sanders

Because of keeping nine defensive backs, they can only keep 10 total linebackers. That means they have to hope Victor Dimukeje and Jesse Luketa don’t get claimed off waivers.

Inside linebacker

(AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

Isaiah Simmons, Zaven Collins, Nick Vigil, Tanner Vallejo, Zeke Turner

Chandler Wooten can’t catch on. Joe Walker and Ben Niemann both get cut. The Cardinals have to keep nine defensive backs, which limits the linebackers.



(AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

Byron Murphy, Antonio Hamilton, Marco Wilson, Christian Matthew, Josh Jackson

Hamilton’s injury makes it so they will have to keep five cornerbacks. Expect the Cardinals to add a cornerback somehow.


Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, Deionte Thompson, James Wiggins

I am going to guess that Washington’s injury is season-ending. If it is, the door is open to keep the second Thompson. If Washington has a chance at returning, they keep him over D.T. and perhaps ride with three safeties plus Isaiah Simmons on game days.


Matt Prater, Andy Lee, Aaron Brewer

Let’s hope they stay healthy.

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