Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Arizona Cardinals Post-Draft 2021 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Arizona Cardinals rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 14.8 (13th)
  • Best ranking: 8th (CBS Sports)
  • Worst ranking: 22nd (The Athletic)

Below you will find a post-draft roundup for the Cardinals in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 11

Player who benefited most from draft: OLB Chandler Jones and DE J.J. Watt

By drafting two talented cornerbacks in Marco Wilson and Tay Gowan, the Cardinals strengthened their cornerback room significantly after losing Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick this offseason. Adding those two defensive backs will give the Cardinals better depth and the ability to rotate at corner, keeping fresh legs on the field, which in turn will help Watt and Jones off the edge. Better, more consistent cornerback play will allow the two elite edge rushers more time to get to the quarterback, who'll likely be forced to hold the ball longer because of better coverage, which could lead to more sacks. -- Josh Weinfuss

NFL.com -- Rank: 16

The Cards were splashy in free agency, landing name-brand players like J.J. Watt, A.J. Green and James Conner. The draft, by comparison, was more of meat-and-potatoes exercise for the team. First-round pick Zaven Collins will line up alongside Isaiah Simmons (last year's first-round pick at linebacker) as Arizona attempts to build a dangerous and versatile core in the middle of their defense. The second-round selection of Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore seems to further cement the reality that Larry Fitzgerald has played his final down in the NFL. The Cardinals still feel a step behind their counterparts in the NFC West.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 22

They've had a great offseason, one that puts them in the mix to be a deep-playoff team. It's all on Kyler Murray now.

USA Today -- Rank: 8

Their biggest obstacle to success (aside from their heinous uniforms) is probably being mired in the NFC West. But, hey, in a 17-game season with three wild cards in play, maybe the whole division will reach the playoffs ... which Arizona missed by a tiebreaker in 2020.

The Athletic -- Rank: 17

They binged on older veterans like J.J. Watt, Rodney Hudson, Malcolm Butler and A.J. Green, expressing clearly that they feel like they can make a deep run while Kyler Murray is still on his rookie contract. But what is Kliff Kingsbury's plan for designing an offense that helps Murray and performs better than the 19th-ranked unit in the NFL?

There's a scenario where Watt stays healthy, Kingsbury figures some things out, Murray performs like an MVP candidate, and Rondale Moore is one of the best-performing rookie wide receivers. But the Cardinals have a lot to prove and have not earned the benefit of the doubt that they'll take a real step forward.

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