NFL Arizona Cardinals

Predicting the Arizona Cardinals’ Starters of 2014

Predicting the Arizona Cardinals' Starters of 2014

Arizona Cardinals helmet
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In 2013, the Arizona Cardinals took major strides forward under new head coach Bruce Arians. In 2014, the Cardinals could be set to take another step forward as there is plenty of young talent on the roster that should continue developing. That said, here is a prediction of what the Cardinals' starting lineup will look like come next season.

QB: Carson Palmer

QB: Carson Palmer
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QB: Carson Palmer

QB: Carson Palmer
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Although he’s aging, Carson Palmer is the clear starting quarterback for the Cardinals. Palmer is a great fit in Bruce Arians’ vertical-style offense, and he’s a solid quarterback for Arizona.

RB: Andre Ellington

RB: Andre Ellington
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RB: Andre Ellington

RB: Andre Ellington
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Coming off a surprising rookie season that saw him gain 652 yards on the ground, Andre Ellington goes into the 2014 season as the Cardinals’ clear starter at the running back position. A tough runner, a great pass-catcher and an underrated blocker, Ellington is the total package, and he will make a big impact for the Cardinals in 2014.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd

WR: Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd
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WR: Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd

WR Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd
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Larry Fitzgerald has long been one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers, and going into 2014, Fitzgerald is a good bet to continue his productive ways. As for Michael Floyd, although he only burst onto the scene in 2013, he is a great, young weapon, and between him and Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have a great pair of receivers.

TE: Rob Housler and Troy Niklas

TE: Rob Housler and Troy Niklas
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TE: Rob Housler and Troy Niklas

TE Rob Housler and Troy Niklas
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Despite being extremely inconsistent since becoming a starter, Rob Housler enters 2014 as one of the starting tight ends for the Cardinals. And seeing as though the team loves to run two-tight end sets, it seems to be a safe bet that rookie Troy Niklas is going to man the other tight end position. Niklas, in particular, seems to have Arizona’s coaching staff excited, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a big impact.

OT: Jared Veldheer (LT) and Bobby Massey (RT)

OT: Jared Veldheer (LT) and Bobby Massey (RT)
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OT: Jared Veldheer (LT) and Bobby Massey (RT)

OT Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie
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This offseason, the Cardinals finally solved their troubles at the left tackle position by bringing in former-Oakland Raider Jared Veldheer to man the position. However, the other side of the line remains a concern as Bobby Massey has yet to assert himself as the team’s definite starter. That said, Veldheer makes the Cardinals’ line much better.

OG: Jonathan Cooper (LG) and Earl Watford (RG)

OG: Jonathan Cooper (LG) and Earl Watford (RG)
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OG: Jonathan Cooper (LG) and Earl Watford (RG)

OG Jonathan Cooper and Earl Watford
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Last year’s first-rounded, Jonathan Cooper enters 2014 as a starter after missing his entire rookie season, and I fully expect him to be a solid starter right away. While Earl Watford isn’t as highly regarded as Cooper, he has the raw ability to become a starter in his second season.

C: Lyle Sendlein

C: Lyle Sendlein
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C: Lyle Sendlein

C Lyle Sendlein
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An average starter, Lyle Sendlein won’t wow you with his blocking; however, he is effective enough to warrant a starting position. Sendlein should and will be the Cardinals’ starting center in 2014.

DE: Calais Campbell

DE: Calais Campbell
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DE: Calais Campbell

DE Calais Campbell
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Although he’s always had the physical ability to dominate, Calais Campbell has been inconsistent as a starter. That said, he flashes the ability to be a star for the Cardinals, and fully expect him to return for another season as a starter.

NT: Dan Williams

NT: Dan Williams
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NT: Dan Williams

NT Dan Williams
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Another player that is solid but not great, Dan Williams isn’t going to make many big plays; however, he does exactly what he’s supposed to for the Cardinals. Williams is one of the league’s better run-stuffers, and as long as he can continue to stop the run, he will continue to be a starter.

DT: Darnell Dockett (5T)

DT: Darnell Dockett (5T)
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DT: Darnell Dockett (5T)

DT Darnell Dockett
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He might not be the elite talent he once was, however, Darnell Dockett remains a big part of the Cardinals’ defense. Dockett is an above-average pass-rusher, and is adequate in the run game, and he is the clear-cut starter in Arizona.

OLB: John Abraham (ROLB) and Matt Shaughnessy (LOLB)

OLB: John Abraham (ROLB) and Matt Shaughnessy (LOLB)
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OLB: John Abraham (ROLB) and Matt Shaughnessy (LOLB)

OLB John Abraham and Matt Shaughnessy
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Despite his age, John Abraham showed that he has something left in the tank after racking up 11.5 sacks in 2013. And while he might not have the same big impact in 2014, Abraham should remain the starter. As for Matt Shaugnessy, although he isn’t a great pass rusher, he’s solid in the run game, and will be a solid contributor across from Abraham.

ILB: Kevin Minter and Larry Foote

ILB: Kevin Minter and Larry Foote
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ILB: Kevin Minter and Larry Foote

ILB Kevin Minter and Larry Foote
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Because of the fact Daryl Washington is facing a suspension, this is one of the weaker positions on the roster for the Cardinals. That said, Kevin Minter does have potential as a Washington-type player if everything goes well. As for Larry Foote, he’s not the player he once was, however, he should provide the team with a decent player in Washington’s absence.

CB: Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie

CB: Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie
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CB: Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie

CB Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie
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During his time in the league, Patrick Peterson has cemented himself as one of the NFL’s best and most versatile players, and he will continue his ascension in 2014. Antonio Cromartie, although not on Peterson’s level, is a solid starter, and him and Peterson give the Cardinals one of the NFL’s best cornerback combinations.

FS: Tyrann Mathieu

FS: Tyrann Mathieu
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FS: Tyrann Mathieu

FS Tyrann Mathieu
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If he’s healthy, Tyrann Mathieu could become one of the NFL’s best safeties in 2014. A ball-hawking player with the potential to continue improving, Mathieu is the clear starter for the Cardinals in 2014.

SS: Deone Bucannon

SS Deone Bucannon
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SS: Deone Bucannon

SS: Deone Bucannon
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This year’s first-rounder, Deone Bucannon is a great fit in the Cardinals’ secondary. Bucannon has the type of physical play that the Cardinals needed, and I fully expect him to start from day one.

Special Teams

Special Teams
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Special Teams

Special Teams
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As far as special teams is concerned for the Cardinals, there aren't any surprises. Jay Feely returns as the team’s kicker, while Dave Zastudil will handle punting. Mike Leach is expected to be the team’s long-snapper, and newly-signed Tedd Ginn should handle return duties.