The Arizona Cardinals defense began to flourish in the second half of the 2011 season, springing a recovery from a 1-6 start to an 8-8 season. However, as a unit, the linebacking corps still could improve. In positional rankings, the Arizona group was rated as 20th among all 32 teams by SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber.
Arizona has a centerpiece player in Daryl Washington. Sam Acho, a fourth-round pick, looked like a draft day steal with seven sacks last season. Stewart Bradley was a huge bust as a free agent, and the linebackers around Washington are questionable.
Cardinals fans feel that Washington is a rising star. Sam Acho could become a big time disruption on defense. O'Brien Schofield has potential, but Paris Lenon is aging and Stew Bradley was a big disappointment. They return with Clark Haggans and added Quentin Groves, but Groves epitomizes disappointment in his NFL career.
I fully expect this ranking to be much higher than now, but it is going to hinge on the play of some unproven players.
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