The Arizona Cardinals and all other NFL teams have just a few more days to finalize their final 53-man rosters ahead of the 2011 regular season. The roster deadline is Saturday, Sept. 3rd, and teams are working furiously to get players all sorted out between now and then. Of particular interest to the Cardinals right now is the position of cornerback, where a youth movement appears to be taking place.
Cornerback Greg Toler, a third-year player for the Cardinals who started 13 of 14 games last season, was lost for the year earlier this week. The Cardinals are left with young playmakers A.J. Jefferson and Patrick Petterson at the spot, who have a combined two games of NFL experience between them with zero starts. Jefferson, a second-year player who went undrafted in 2010, saw few plays for the Cardinals last season. Petterson, meanwhile, was the Cardinals' first-round pick (fifth overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Though the two are young, Coach Ken Whizenhunt stated soon after Toler's injury that he is okay with starting them both. The team, however, will likely want to back up Jefferson and Petterson with more experienced players in case either or both of them have trouble early on in the season.
The team recently acquired veteran Fred Bennett, a five-year veteran who played most recently for the Cincinnati Bengals. He will almost definitely stay with the Cardinals after these cuts.
Of the team's other cornerbacks, the order in terms of NFL experience proceeds as follows: Richard Marshall (five years), Michael Adams (four years), Marshay Green (one years), Thad Turner (zero years) and Bryant Nnabuife (zero years)
My guess is that the team keeps some combination of Marshall and Adams as a result of their experience and tenure in the league. Due to the relative uncertainty at cornerback right now, the Cardinals could also opt to keep one or two of the young guns (Green, Turner and Nnabuife).
Whatever the Cardinals decide to do, we will know in about 48 hours.