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Cardinals' 53-man roster projection includes three corners vying for starting job

Mike Jenkins has made a push tp be one of the starting cornerbacks over the last few weeks. Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals must cut their roster to 75 by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday. Here’s a final 53-man roster projection:

QUARTERBACK (3): Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Matt Barkley

Palmer and Stanton are gimmes. Barkley pulled away from rookie Jake Coker during the past few weeks with a strong showing in San Diego. A recent knee injury doesn’t help Coker’s chances. It was telling that he didn’t get any snaps during Arizona’s trip to San Diego for joint practices.

RUNNING BACK (4): Chris Johnson, David Johnson, Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor

David Johnson looks better than he did at the end of last season, while Chris Johnson still exudes that shifty veteran vibe -- except this year, he has a better understanding of the scheme. Ellington looks quick and fast in camp, a benefit to him being healthy. Taylor still is an important presence on special teams, and he has still proven his worth in pass protection.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, J.J. Nelson, Jaron Brown, Brittan Golden

While a handful of receivers had the opportunity to steal a seat in the wide receiver room, no one was able to.

TIGHT END (4): Darren Fells, Jermaine Gresham, Troy Niklas, Ifeanyi Momah

Niklas may have had the best camp of any player on the roster, ensuring a spot among Arizona’s top three tight ends. The fourth can go to either Momah or Mr. Irrelevant, Gerald Christian, who also has a role on special teams, but Momah fits better in the offense.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Evan Boehm, A.Q. Shipley, Mike Iupati, Evan Mathis, Earl Watford, D.J. Humphries, Jared Veldheer, John Wetzel

Watford’s flexibility, being able to play all five positions on the offensive line, made him a star in camp and will give Arizona the ability to dress just seven offensive linemen on game day. Wetzel is the only surprise here because of his ability at tackle. If he makes the roster, he likely won’t dress because of Watford’s flexibility.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8): Calais Campbell, Rodney Gunter, Red Bryant, Robert Nkemdiche, Corey Peters, Frostee Rucker, Ed Stinson, Xavier Williams

Still the deepest position on the roster, the Cardinals may use one or two of the defensive linemen as trade bait, which is why Josh Mauro didn’t make the cut. But there are a handful of scenarios for how the defensive line could play out. This is just one of many.

LINEBACKER (7): Alani Fua, Donald Butler, Kevin Minter, Markus Golden, Chandler Jones, Alex Okafor, Kareem Martin

It’s clear that Jones and Golden will be every-down pass-rushers, limiting the Cardinals’ rotation, thus shrinking the linebacker room. Butler supplanted Gabe Martin, who could end up on the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE BACK (10): Justin Bethel, Mike Jenkins, Harlan Miller, Patrick Peterson, Brandon Williams, Tyvon Branch, Deone Bucannon, Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu, D.J. Swearinger

Within the past few weeks, Mike Jenkins has made a push at one of the starting cornerback jobs, making him an option the Cardinals want to keep around. There isn’t a clear-cut starting corner opposite of Patrick Peterson, which means Arizona will be carrying three corners at that position until a starter emerges.

SPECIALISTS (3): K Chandler Catanzaro, P Drew Butler, LS Kameron Canaday

It’s still too early to pick a long snapper because coach Bruce Arians wants to see them in action more, but Canaday has the size to hold up over the season.