By Nate Martinez
It’s time to bust out your favorite chips n dip and grab that 30 case of beer on sale because football is back.
For many, this feeling is comparable to the feeling of taking your crush on a date for the first time or running downstairs to find Christmas presents; it’s just pure innocent excitement!
This feeling of excitement doubles if you are an Arizona Cardinals fan. The Bird Gang look to build off an offseason filled with hype and make a run deep into the playoffs. Given the offseason trades, a stellar draft-class, a killer receiving core and a quarterback that has limitless potential, things seem to be looking pretty good for the Cardinals.
Before the Cardinals kick off their season against their longtime rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, let’s recap some of the bigger news this past offseason.
The Cards decided to trade away a key component of their backfield in David Johnson for Deandre Hopkins, arguably one of the best wide receivers in the game today. One question comes to mind when this trade is brought up: “What the hell was Bill O’Brien thinking”?
The Texans gave up their best receiver in the prime of his career and a fourth-round pick for an irrelevant running back and a second-round pick.
The Cards didn’t need Johnson either, as he has constantly been injured since 2017. The trade makes even more sense as former Miami Dolphin running back, Kenyan Drake signed a transition tag this past offseason.
Many reports came in that DeAndre Hopkins was experiencing problems with his former head coach, Bill O’Brien. This could very well explain the reason as to why the trade went down the way it did, despite both O’Brien and Hopkins saying otherwise. The 4x Pro Bowler signed a 2 year, $54.5 million contract this past Tuesday.
The Cardinals offensive line remains relatively the same, with three starters returning to protect their Rookie of The Year Quarterback.
Patrick Peterson, who is in the final year of his contract, will be getting a ton of help this year. While they took Offensive Tackle Josh Jones out of Utah in the third round, the Cardinals took a defense-heavy approach in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Birds snagged Isiah Simmons out of Clemson, who was widely thought of as one of the best Outside Linebackers in the draft. Coach Kliff Kingsbury brings a tackling machine to the Arizona roster, as Simmons finished with 104 total tackles last year: 67 of which were solo. Simmons also earned All-American honors in his last year with the Tigers and took home the Butkus Award, a trophy honoring the NCAA’s best Linebacker.
The Cardinals later snagged Defensive Tackles Leki Fotu from Houston in the fourth round and Rashard Lawrence in the fifth round. Evan Weaver, a Linebacker from Cal was later scooped via a trade from New England.
Finally, Eno Benjamin the elusive Running Back from ASU was taken with the Cardinals final pick in the 7th round of the draft. Benjamin brings in a lot of talent that could compliment Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds. He broke ASU’s single season rushing record in 2018.
There is plenty to be excited for this season if you are an Arizona Cardinals fan. A new-look offense and a stacked draft class could boost the cardinals to be the contenders they were a few years ago.
However, it’s going to take a lot more than off season hype to push the Cards to Superbowl contention. They still have the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams and Superbowl 54 runner-up San Francisco 49ers to go through.
Their first stop, the big bell bottom, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.