Cardinals' starting lineup sees minor changes in 2016

The Arizona Cardinals open training camp on July 28 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Here's a starting lineup projection:


Quarterback (Carson Palmer): Set career highs in passing yards (4,671), touchdowns (35) and passer rating (104.6) last season while notching his first career playoff win.

Running back (Chris Johnson): Was in the top five in rushing until a broken leg in Week 12 ended what was likely to be another 1,000-yard season.

Wide receiver (Larry Fitzgerald): Set a career high with 109 catches in 2015-16 and broke the 1,000-yard milestone (with 1,215 yards) for the first time since 2011.

Wide receiver (Michael Floyd): A training camp hand injury prevented another 1,000-yard season, but Floyd finished with five 100-yard games in the final eight.

Tight end (Darren Fells): Had his most productive season as an NFL player, with 21 catches for 311 yards and three touchdowns.

Left tackle (Jared Veldheer): Started every game last season while anchoring an offensive line that allowed 27 sacks (fourth-fewest in the NFL) and blocked for 1,917 rushing yards (eighth in the NFL).

Left guard (Mike Iupati): Was named to his fourth straight Pro Bowl and was a second-team All-Pro.

Center (A.Q. Shipley): Started just one game last year, but it happened to be the Cardinals' most productive rushing output of the season.

Right guard (Evan Mathis): Offseason free-agent signing who provides a veteran presence on the right side of the offensive line.

Right tackle (D.J. Humphries): Likely will be given his first shot at playing since he was drafted in the first round in 2015 after redshirting his rookie season.

Tight end (Jermaine Gresham): Re-signed with the Cardinals during the offseason after reportedly turning down contracts of up to four years worth as much as $23 million.


Defensive tackle (Calais Campbell): Made his second straight Pro Bowl after moving inside to defensive tackle for the majority of his snaps.

Nose tackle (Corey Peters): Missed all of the past season because of an Achilles injury suffered in training camp after he signed early in free agency.

Defense tackle (Frostee Rucker): Ankle injuries hampered him last season, but he has developed into a staple on the defensive line and a backbone of the locker room.

Outside linebacker (Chandler Jones): Acquired through a trade with the New England Patriots in March and will bring his 12.5 sacks in 2015-16 to bolster Arizona’s pass rush.

Outside linebacker (Markus Golden): Had four sacks in his rookie season and emerged as a disruptive pass-rusher off the edge.

Inside linebacker (Kevin Minter): Lost about 20 pounds to become a starter in 2015-16 and had his most productive season as a pro.

Inside linebacker (Deone Bucannon): Led the team with 127 tackles in his second season and will continue to play the hybrid dollar linebacker role.

Cornerback (Patrick Peterson): Coming off his fifth straight Pro Bowl and third first-team All-Pro selection after what many consider the best season of his career.

Safety (Tyrann Mathieu): There’s a chance the first-team All-Pro might not start Week 1, as he continues to recover from ACL surgery in January, but he’ll be a starter once he returns.

Safety (Tyvon Branch): Signed as a free agent during the offseason from the Kansas City Chiefs, is expected to fill the void left by Rashad Johnson and will use his versatility in a Tyrann Mathieu-esque way.

Cornerback (Justin Bethel): Former sixth-round pick had two interceptions last season, the first picks of his career.

Special teams

Kicker (Chandler Catanzaro): Missed just three field goals but didn’t convert five extra points to finish with 137 points, which were second-most in a season in Cardinals history and third-most in the NFL last season.

Punter (Drew Butler): Averaged 42.9 yards per punt and landed 22 punts inside the 20-yard line with just six touchbacks last season.

Long snapper (Kameron Canaday): An undrafted free agent out of Portland State, Canaday has just as good a chance to make the team as the other undrafted free agent long snapper, Danny Dillon, except Canaday is an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier.