With key free-agent acquisitions and new rookies at their disposal, the Cardinals defense should be…
Cardinals Power Rankings: Nos. 42-36
Click here for Iowa defensive line coach's perspective on his former standout.
41. LS: Nathan Hodel (6'2", 242) is a long-term provider for the Cardinals. He hasn't missed a game or a long snap in six seasons for Arizona. Hodel doesn't show any signs of stopping. He is an underrated, yet appreciated part of the Cardinals program.
40. DE/OLB Bert Berry (6'3", 264) is in a tough situation heading into training camp. If it was opening day today, Berry would sit atop the depth charts at right defensive end, but the battles have yet to start for the defensive front seven. The Cardinals drafted three pass-rushers to complement free-agent additions Bryan Robinson, Travis LaBoy, Clark Haggans and Matt Stewart, competition for the active roster will be at all-time high. Berry struggles to stay healthy. Last season he appeared and started in nine games and compiled a near-career low of 21 tackles. Entering his 11th season, Berry needs to come out strong in camp.
Click here for AZRedReport.com's take on the Bertrand situation.
39. TE Ben Patrick (6'4", 270) was selected by the Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft. In his rookie year, Patrick saw action in eight games with three starts. He received for 73 yards, including two touchdowns. The depth at tight end is shaping up nice and the starting role is by no means set in stone. Patrick could give Cardinals fans something to talk about next season.
38. SS Aaron Francisco (6'2", 212) is ready to plow through his fourth season in red. Last year, he Francisco started in the No.3 role, but was active in 10 games and started in three because of secondary injuries. His best contributions come on special teams. Francisco finished the season with 31 tackles. He should have a comfortable spot behind Adrian Wilson in 2008.
37. NT Alan Branch (6'5", 334) out of Michigan is entering his sophomore season. He was selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Cardinals and picked up some playing time his rookie year. He was active for 11 games and tacked on nine tackles. If Gabe Watson goes down, Branch will be his replacement.
36. LT Elton Brown (6'5", 340) will be one of the most versatile players to provide depth for the offensive line this season. He can play tackle or guard, right or left. He enters his fourth season and has the possibility of playing behind Mike Gandy at left tackle or play backup to Deuce Lutui at right guard.
Click here for rankings Nos. 49-43.
Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications. Her analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.
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