The preseason has (finally) come to a close for the Arizona Cardinals. They only won one of their five games, but we have seen how little of an impact that can have on teams. After all, Arizona did go to the Super Bowl in 2008 after going 0-4 in the preseason.
Also, every preseason seems to have some players that shine brighter than others. That is why some are cut and some are not. So for Arizona, who are the athletes that simply outperformed their peers and will come out as the biggest winners?
Find out after the jump.
Williams was always a lock to make the team, but he is considered a winner because of the arduous journey he has already gone through in his young career. After tearing his patella tendon about one year ago, Williams rehabbed and came back to show us why he was a second round pick. It's a great thing to see him back on the field.
Byrd was an undrafted receiver out of Miami University and, by all indications, he probably should have been selected in the draft. He was a favorite target for rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley and he made some huge catches down the stretch of games. He is no lock to make the roster, but one has to think that he will.
Bethel is very green as a safety coming out of Presbyterian, but his special teams play and raw athleticism are unparalleled. He blocked three field goals/extra points/punts this preseason and Coach Whisenhunt has acknowledged that he is likely to make the 53-man team.
With his tough running, spectacular vision and cutback abilities, I think Powell ends up making the roster as the fourth running back this season. Alfonso Smith would be the odd man out as the incumbent, but he simply didn't show us as much as Powell did. Powell can also contribute on kickoffs as a returner and a sure tackler. I like his upside in the backfield.
The defense of the Cardinals was highly touted this offseason... and they showed why. They played well (for the most part) and they should have gained some valuable momentum heading into the regular season. They are the backbone of this team and if the Cards want to win more than a few games this season, the defense will need to play well.