Their season has only just ended, but Arizona Cardinals fans are already looking ahead. What lessons have been learned from the past and how can the team best prepare for the challenges ahead?
A Review of the 2021 Season
The Cardinals ended the regular season with an 11-6 record that put them in second place in the NFC West. They put together the best winning record on the road in the NFL, at 8-2, but losing five of their last six games spoiled what looked at one point like being a sensational season.
It was still good enough for the Cardinals to play in their first playoff game since 2015. Sadly, it ended in a 34-11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, as reported by AZCentral.com, and the Rams progressed to the divisional round at the expense of the Arizona team. More bad news came with the injury to safety Budda Baker, who was carried off motionless on a stretcher but later said he’d make a full recovery from the worrying head injury.
Overall, it was a season that promised a lot early on, as they racked up a 7-0 start for the first time since the mid-1970s. However, their collapse at the end of the season showed there are still some issues to be resolved in terms of the team’s fragility.
The Mock Draft Predictions
The 2022 NFL draft gives the Cardinals the chance to add new talent to the roster. It’s due to be held in Paradise, Nevada at the end of April. Their strong 2021 season record and a schedule strength of .490 means that the Cardinals are listed as 23rd of the 32 teams.
If you think the right draft pick will improve the chances of the Cardinals winning in 2022, you can now bet on this happening. According to the details on PlayAZ.com, online gambling was made legal here in 2021. Ten commercial licenses and ten tribal licenses are to be issued in the state. Big-name sportsbooks such as DraftKings, BetMGM, and BetRivers have welcome packages that reward new members with risk-free bets and other bonuses.
According to ArizonaSports.com, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper has already held a mock draft for the opening round which resulted in the Cardinals choosing defensive end George Karlaftis. He’s ranked as number 23 among the nation’s college players in 2021, with a pass-rushing grade of 90.6. The idea behind this pick would be as a replacement for J.J. Watt, who has a year left on this contract and whose struggles with injuries tied in with the team’s collapse in form.
Sorting Out the Cornerback Situation Again
The need to improve the choices at cornerback is once again a key focus for the Cardinals during this offseason. It seemed as though they’d found a solution when Malcolm Butler was signed as a free agent in March 2021, but his retirement due to personal reasons in August meant this once again became an area of weakness in the team. This is definitely one of the positions that need to be sorted out before the new season begins.
There’s a lot for Cardinals fans to look forward to in this offseason. If they manage to sort out the positions they need to strengthen and pick up a good player in the draft, the 2022 season could be one to remember.