As expected, the Arizona Cardinals’ initial focus since the lockout ended has been at quarterback. Rumors that Kevin Kolb will be the Cardinals’ answer under center circulated throughout the offseason and continue to have legs. The question marks, however, don’t stop there. Arizona will have plenty of additional work to do in order to return as a competitor in the NFC West division.
The Cardinals are still in need of help at several positions, most notably along the offensive line and at linebacker. Depending on what Arizona gives up for Kolb (most reports link Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a potential trade) help at cornerback will also be needed via free agency.
The offensive line was one of the team’s downfalls in 2010 and might be even more inauspicious this year. In addition to the retirement of Alan Faneca, there’s a good chance Deuce Lutui will be gone, leaving an already short-handed group another man down. Lyle Sendlein is expected to return in the middle of the trenches, but Brandon Keith and Levi Brown were suspect at best at tackle a year ago.
In a perfect world, the Cardinals would fill both vacant guard positions and bring in at least one more solid option at tackle. That scenario is doubtful and Arizona will likely be forced to move Rex Hadnot into a starting spot at guard while hoping that the other side can be shored up with a free agent. Furthermore, the combination of Keith and Brown at tackle will probably have to do for another season.
Looking at Arizona’s depth chart on defense, it appears to be a serviceable unit as long as a handful of reinforcements are brought in. A pass-rushing specialist would come in handy for new defensive coordinator Ray Horton, and will be absolutely vital if veteran Joey Porter ends up being cut. O’Brien Schofield and rookie Sam Acho will provide some firepower off the edge but even if Porter sticks around, new blood should be strongly considered.
At inside linebacker, Daryl Washington is almost guaranteed to move into a starting role. Gerald Hayes will be gone leaving Washington along with veteran Paris Lenon and rookie Quan Sturdivant battling it out for the second spot at inside linebacker in the Cardinals’ 3-4 defense.
Assuming that DRC will be included in a trade for Kolb, rookie Patrick Peterson and Greg Toler will line up as starters at cornerback . Toler had an up and down campaign a year ago and while Peterson is one of the most NFL-ready prospects out of this year's draft, rookies always struggle with consistency.