Pro Football Focus: Cardinals secondary among the league’s worst
The Arizona Cardinals’ rotating door in the secondary has been a cause of concern the last two seasons.
The team released starting safety Tyrann Mathieu and starting cornerback Tramon Williams signed with the Green Bay Packers. Jamar Taylor was acquired from the Cleveland Brown to replace Williams, who performed well for the Cardinals in the secondary and will be tough for the defense to replace.
Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner isn’t high on the Cardinals secondary entering the 2018 season, ranking them at No. 19 in the NFL.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson has excelled his entire career with the Cardinals and will be essential if the secondary is to perform above expectations.
Luckily for the Cardinals, the starting spot across from Peterson is one of the easiest jobs in the NFL. Unluckily for them, they lost Tramon Williams this offseason and have little hope of replacing the production from a season ago. They traded for Taylor this offseason from Cleveland, but there was a reason why the talent-needy Browns were willing to part ways with the former second-round pick. Taylor allowed 69.3 percent of his targets to be completed a season ago and has allowed a passer rating of 111.4 in his coverage for his career.
Renner’s prognosis on Taylor isn’t ideal for the Cardinals since he will likely be targeted by opposing defenses as the Cardinals’ other starting cornerback.
If Taylor struggles, Bene’ Benwikere or Brandon Williams could see more time opposite Peterson and Taylor would most likely be moved to nickel cornerback.
The safety positions appear to be well manned by veteran Antoine Bethea and second-year player Budda Baker. Bethea is in the second year of a three-year deal he signed prior to last season. Baker excelled in both special teams and in limited playing time at safety. The second-year player will have an increased role in 2018 with the departure of Mathieu.