The Arizona Cardinals played a decade of football that included some extreme highs and some terrible lows. Saying that the 2010 decade was all over the place, for the Cardinals, would be an understatement at the least. Their best years came in the middle of the decade when head coach Bruce Arians was at the helm. During his tenure, the Cardinals finished as high as 13-3 in 2015 and as low as 7-8-1 in 2016. It’s certainly been a mixed bag for the Cardinals since the departure of Arians in 2017. Let’s break down the best players of this decade, and take a look at the Arizona Cardinals 2010s All-Decade Team. This article will focus on the defense and special teams.
Arizona Cardinals 2010s All-Decade Team: Defense & Special Teams
Defensive End: Calais Campbell
Always nice to start things off with a no-brainer. Calais Campbell has been a model of consistency and efficiency since entering the league. Campbell was with the Cardinals from 2008 to 2016. During this time, he made the Pro Bowl twice and accumulated a total of 56.5 sacks. His best season came in 2013, where he recorded nine sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and one safety. Campbell was a cornerstone piece for the defense of the Cardinals throughout the early part of the decade, and it’s easy to see why.
Defensive Tackle: Corey Peters
The Cardinals haven’t really had a dominant defensive tackle in recent years, but they have always been pretty consistent at the position. Corey Peters was a member of the Cardinals from 2016 to 2019. During these four seasons, Peters recorded six sacks and 23 tackles for loss. Although he never made the Pro Bowl, Peters consistently played in 10+ games a season throughout his four-year stint in Arizona.
Defensive End: Darnell Dockett
Throughout the course of the decade, Arizona had a plethora of individuals rotate through the defensive end position opposite of Calais Campbell. The best of that group was likely Darnell Dockett. Dockett was with the Cardinals from 2004 to 2014. He made the Pro Bowl three times throughout the course of his tenure, the last of which came in 2010. During his Pro Bowl season in 2010, Dockett recorded five sacks, nine tackles for loss, and 15 quarterback hits. While his better years came before the start of the decade, Dockett was still a force to be reckoned with until his final year in 2014.
Outside Linebacker: Chandler Jones
Another no-brainer here. Chandler Jones was traded to the Cardinals from the New England Patriots in 2016 for a second-round pick and offensive guard Jonathan Cooper. Since then, Jones has made the Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro twice as a member of the Cardinals. In just four seasons with Arizona, Jones has racked up an outstanding 60 sacks and 67 tackles for loss. Jones is living proof that players can be successful after leaving New England.
Middle Linebacker: Deone Bucannon
Deonne Bucannon was a member of the Cardinals from 2018 to 2018. During his time there, Bucannon spent time in both the secondary and linebacker group. His best season came in 2013, where he recorded three sacks, three forced fumbles, one interception, and started in all 16 games. While he never earned a Pro Bowl appearance, Bucannon will always be known for his versatility and consistency while a member of the Cardinals.
Middle Linebacker: Daryl Washington
The other Pro Bowl linebacker from the 2010s for the Cardinals, Daryl Washington spent five seasons in Arizona. His best season came in 2012, his lone Pro Bowl season, where he recorded nine sacks and had an astonishing 108 solo tackles.
Outside Linebacker: Alex Okafor
Alex Okafor was a member of the Cardinals from 2013 to 2016. Even though he spent four years in Arizona, Okafor was never seen as more than a middle-of-the-pack player in the league. His best season came in 2014, where he recorded eight sacks and just one interception.
Cornerback: Patrick Peterson
The easiest no-brainer of the bunch, Patrick Peterson has been widely considered a top-five defensive player since entering the league. Peterson is another one of those players that you could write an entire article about and not once struggle to fill the page. He’s made the Pro Bowl in eight of his first nine seasons, while also obtaining three First-Team All-Pro nominations. Though he may have slowed down a bit last season, Peterson is still a forced top-tier defensive player in today’s NFL.
Cornerback: Antonio Cromartie
Perhaps the hardest position to fill for this All-Decade Team, the defensive back position opposite Patrick Peterson has been a revolving door for the Cardinals. Antonio Cromartie spent just one year (2014) in Arizona, but did manage to make the Pro Bowl in his lone season there. While Cromartie has been known as a journeyman player throughout the course of his career, you could easily argue that the lone season he spent with the Cardinals was easily one of his best.
Free Safety: Tyrann Mathieu
An easy choice here, Tyrann Mathieu was a risk that paid off for the Cardinals. Mathieu played in Arizona from 2013 to 2017, where he earned one Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selection. During his Pro Bowl season (2015), Mathieu recorded five interceptions and 80 solo tackles. Although he eventually departed the team in 2018, Mathieu was easily the best safety the Cardinals had throughout the course of the decade.
Strong Safety: Tony Jefferson
Tony Jefferson was known for his extreme versatility during his four-year stint in Arizona. What he lacked in stats and splash plays, he made up for with his consistency and solid tackling. Though he never earned a Pro Bowl bid, Jefferson could always be counted on for a few sacks and forced fumbles each season.
Kicker: Jay Feely
The Cardinals have had a revolving door at the kicker position since the departure of Neil Rackers in 2009. The longest-tenured kicker of the decade, Jay Feely was a decent enough player to get the job done though. Feely was with the Cardinals from 2010 to 2013, and never once missed an extra point. While his kick accuracy never finished above 90 percent for the seasons, Feely was certainly a more than serviceable kicker throughout his time in Arizona.
Punter: Andy Lee
Although he’s mainly known for his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Lee was easily the best punter of the decade for the Cardinals. Lee has spent the last three seasons in Arizona, recording his best season in 2018 where he led the league in punts (94) and punt gross avg. (48.6). Punters have always been players than can kick for a long time, so it’ll be interesting to see how much longer he can perform at a high level in the league.