In an off-season that has seen a cataclysmic shift out in the desert, the new-look Arizona Cardinals are gearing up for a real title challenge in the NFC West. A host of new faces join Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray as the duo heads into their third NFL season. This squad has leaders. It has superstars. It has an eclectic blend of reliable veteran players and electrifying young talent. A roster that rebuilt almost top to bottom, these are the faces of the 2021 Arizona Cardinals.
Faces of the 2021 Arizona Cardinals
A number one overall pick. A head coach with a maverick offensive scheme. The success of the Arizona Cardinals begins and ends with Kyler Murray. While Murray hasn’t maxed out the gunslinger potential he flashed at Oklahoma, his dual-threat ability has made him one of the NFL’s most exciting players. In 2020, he was putting defenders on skates in an Iverson-like fashion. He carried the Cardinals run game and impressed in the air, despite some inconsistency in the latter.
Heading into year three, with a vastly improved offensive line and receiving corps, Murray is going to be expected to make a huge leap, á la Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen. He is the modern NFL quarterback. He breaks ankles in the open field, he has the arm to make any throw on the field, and yes, FaZe K1 is a multi-sport athlete. If he doesn’t leave to play baseball, with the new tools that he has, this can be and has to be, the year that Kyler Murray breaks out as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
DeAndre Hopkins might be the best pound-for-pound player on the Cardinals roster. Arguably the very best receiver in the NFL, D-Hop was a revelation in 2020. In his 6XL gloves, he has hands like baseball mitts, which is probably why Oakland Athletics draftee Kyler Murray likes throwing to him so much. A gentleman and a scholar, Hopkins has brought a cool, ornate style to the desert. On the field, he is beauty, he is grace. His routes are flawless, his catch radius infinite. If Kingsbury allows him to run something other than curls, quick outs, and the occasional go, then Hopkins will undoubtedly be the NFL’s best receiver.
Nuk was the face of the Cardinals offense in 2020, blessed the NFL with the play of the season with the ‘Hail Murray’, and gave Air Jordan some outstanding free marketing in the process. Yet, as the league’s top wideout, Hop takes all that in his stride, because it was “just a better catch by I“.
Budda Baker is arguably the face of the Arizona Cardinals defense, but when J.J. Watt comes to town, the Wisconsin native really is the big cheese. In one of the biggest moves of the NFL off-season, Watt joined Arizona, putting a spotlight on the franchise. After all, he is a former three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Hall of Fame-level talent mixed with infectious energy and intensity has already made J.J. Watt a star in the valley.
Zach Allen sticks to him like footballs to DeAndre Hopkins’ hands. He’s out playing golf with A.J. Green. He’s rolling Zaven Collins down the fairway. Whether he’s paying his respects to Cardinals icon and American hero Pat Tillman, or showing his support for #RallyTheValley at the Suns playoff games, Watt has enamored himself to the Red Sea immediately. He’s immersed himself into the culture of both the franchise and the state, and hopefully soon will be fully immersed in a playoff run of his own in Cardinal red.
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