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The Arizona Cardinals hope to get improvement from everyone who was on the roster last season. If everyone improves, then the team will naturally get better.
That isn’t likely to happen, but some players are poised to break out in 2022 to improve to good or even great.
Which players are in the best position to do that?
WR Hollywood Brown
Brown already has a 1,000-yards season in his career, surpassing that mark last season for the Baltimore Ravens. He did that with a run-heavy offense that ran through the running backs and tight ends.
Now a member of the Cardinals after a draft-night trade, he reunites with former college teammate and close friend Kyler Murray in a receiver-friendly offense.
And with DeAndre Hopkins suspended the first six games of the season, Brown will most likely be one of Murray’s favorite targets. Brown’s production could explode early in the season.
WR Rondale Moore
Moore showed flashes of greatness early last season but his role was limited as the fourth receiver. He will, to start the season, be the No. 3 receiver in the role Christian Kirk held last season when he nearly gained 1,000 receiving yards. Moore will do more than catch screen passes and run jet sweeps in 2022.
DL Zach Allen
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Allen broke out a bit last season, showing consistent disruption after J.J. Watt’s shoulder injury. He had 48 tackles, four sacks, five tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hits and broke up four passes. He also had an interception and recovered three fumble, returning one for a touchdown.
Now he will continue in a starting role with Watt on the field. He enters the fourth and final season of his contract, so he is primed to have a big season, and if he does, the Cardinals will be in a good spot.
DT Rashard Lawrence
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
Lawrence has not put up big numbers yet and has to deal with lower-leg injuries in both his NFL seasons, but the Cardinals love Lawrence. He doesn’t get talked about a lot but, when it comes up, you will notice just how much head coach Kliff Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph believe he can be at least very good.
He is slated to be the starting nose tackle this coming season between Allen and Watt. If he can stay healthy, we might see what the coaches believe he can be.
LB Isaiah Simmons
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Statistically, Simmons had a fine season in 2021. He had 105 tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception, seven pass breakups and forced four fumbles.
He made many plays. He also gave up a few. In 2022, the hope is he can make more and give up fewer. If he does, he could enter the conversation as one of the more game-changing linebackers in the league.
CB Marco Wilson
(AP Photo/Ben VanHouten)
It was a rough rookie season for Wilson. He was given the starting job and played mostly mistake-free ball until late in the season. He gave up some plays but mostly was solid. He also just missed a ton of plays.
His physical skillset is incredible. He has a year under his belt and will be an every-down player again in 2022. It would not be surprising to see him become the Cardinals’ best cornerback this season. It might not happen, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he does.