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