ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando has been going through the division's teams and sharing the position group that he believes will exceed preseason expectations for them. His focus on the Arizona Cardinals was the defensive backfield, which has the potential, because of the depth, especially at cornerback, to be a very good group.
One of the more telling things about the depth at corner for Arizona is that, as Sando wrote, they could "wind up releasing a player they now or recently considered as a starting cornerback."
They start Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson and a healthier Kerry Rhodes at safety with Rashad Johnson and James Sanders to back them up. A year ago, it was Johnson who was the only reserve safety to get playing time. They had Hamza Abdullah and Sean Considine, but they were exclusively special teams contributors.
At cornerback they have a blend of young and veteran players. Writes Sando:
Patrick Peterson is locked in as the starter on the left side and should be primed to take a big step forward after finishing strong as a rookie first-round choice in 2011. Former starters A.J. Jefferson and Greg Toler join Gay as candidates to start on the opposite side. Fleming is in the mix. Michael Adams, who played a third of the defensive snaps last season, offers veteran depth (he is 27).
That doesn't even mention third round draft pick Jamell Fleming, who impressed nearly everyone in offseason work without pads.
It looks like the team has an excess of players in their secondary that fit the mold they want to have -- physical players that don't shy away from tackling and have versatility.
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