Home Grown Offensive Talent: 2022 vs. 2015, 2008


Thanks to since61’s suggestion, let’s take a glimpse of how the Cardinals’ 2022 homegrown talent stacks up in comparison to the 2015 and 2008 squads.

The way that I make the talent assessments is primarily based on how gifted the draft picks and college free agents were at the time in which they were drafted. For long-time Cardinal fans draftniks like since61, many of you and myself, it’s fairly easy to make the comparisons.

For example, in my opinion, the most gifted guard the Cardinals drafted during this span was Jonathan Cooper from North Carolina, who was Steve Keim’s first draft pick as GM.

Obviously, things did not turn out well for Cooper during his short tenure with the Cardinals thanks to the season-ending broken leg he suffered during a pre-season game in year one and then, over the next couple of years Cooper’s subsequent struggles in being able to process week to week game planning tweaks.

However, based on pure talent, Cooper gets the nod.

2022 Cardinals Homegrown Offensive Talent vs. 2015

  • QB Kyler Murray (R1, 2019) —- None
  • RB Eno Benjamin (R7, 2020), Keontay Ingram (R6, 2022) —- David Johnson
  • WR Rondale Moore (R2, 2021) —- Larry Fitzgerald
  • WR Andy Isabella (R2, 2019) —- Michael Floyd
  • WR JaVonta Payton (CFA, 2022) —- John Brown
  • TE Trey McBride (R2, 2022) —- Troy Niklas
  • LT DJ Humphries (R1, 2015), Joshua Miles (R7, 2019) —- DJ Humphries
  • LG Lecitis Smith (R6, 2022) —- none
  • C none —- Lyle Sendlein
  • RG Marquis Hayes (R7, 2022) —- Jonathan Cooper
  • RT Josh Jones (R3, 2020) —- Bobby Massie

Due to free agent signings, trades and the slow development of draft picks, the Cardinals’ 2022 homegrown talent is nowhere near as impressive as the homegrown talent on the 2015 offense.

2015 Arizona Cardinals Offensive Rankins

  • Yards per game: 408.3 (1st – NFL)
  • Passing Yards Per Game: 288.5 (2nd – NFL)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 119.8 (8th – NFL)
  • Points Per Game: 30.6 (2nd – NFL)

2022 Cardinals Homegrown Offensive Talent vs. 2008

  • QB Kyler Murray (R1, 2019) —- Matt Leinart
  • RB Eno Benjamin (R7, 2020), Keontay Ingram (R6, 2022) —- Tim Hightower
  • WR Rondale Moore (R2, 2021) —- Larry Fitzgerald
  • WR Andy Isabella (R2, 2019) —- Anquan Boldin
  • WR JaVonta Payton (CFA, 2022) —- Stevie Breast
  • TE Trey McBride (R2, 2022) —- Ben Patrick
  • LT DJ Humphries (R1, 2015), Joshua Miles (R7, 2019) —- Levi Brown
  • LG Lecitis Smith (R6, 2022) —- Deuce Lutui
  • C none —- Lyle Sendlein
  • RG Marquis Hayes (R7, 2022) —- Reggie Wells
  • RT Josh Jones (R3, 2020) —- Brandon Keith

That most difficult call here was comparing DJ Humphries to Levi Brown. I gave the nod to DJ because as a modern-day pass protector at LT, DJ is better suited than Levi. But, in terms of physical strength, Brown was superior.

2008 Arizona Cardinals Offensive Rankins

  • Yards per game: 365.8 (4th – NFL)
  • Passing Yards Per Game: 292.1 (2nd – NFL)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 73.6 (32nd – NFL)
  • Points Per Game: 26.7 (3rd- NFL)

A case can be made that Steve Kiem’s ​​predecessor, Rod Graves, was far better at drafting WRs and offensive lineman than Keim. Keim, on the other hand, deserves the nod at QB, RB and TE.

In my opinion, a major reason why the Cardinals’ development of homegrown talent on offense during has been slower than expected Kliff Kingsbury’s three seasons is Steve Keim pairing Kingsbury with long-time NFL assistants such as Tom Clements, Sean Kugler and Jerry Sullivan.

It is my belief that Steve Keim and the veteran offensive assistants, from the get-go, were not convinced that Kliff Kingsbury’s K-Raid would be successful. They urged Kliff to adopt a number of tradition NFL offensive schemes —- and, to Kliff’s credit, he has been flexible and open to the input.

I think there was also a fear on the assistants’ part that Kliff would have a difficult time succeeding if he leaned on his young talent, other than Kyler Murray. And that Kyler Murray would have a better chance to succeed if he were surrounded by veterans.

Although —- what we may never know or see —- is just how effective and productive Kliff Kingsbury’s spread offense would be if he committed to it full-time. But, with his current assistant coaches, that would likely never happen.

The irony is —- the closest thing we Cardinals’ fans have seen of a high-fling spread offense is in 2008 with Kurt Warner taking command and leading the team to its first and only Super Bowl appearance.

If the Cardinals sign a veteran center and move Justin Pugh back to left guard, then the offensive line, once again, will be 5 grizzled veterans, with the only homegrown player being DJ Humphries.

James Conner and Darrel Williams form a veteran RB tandem.

The only homegrown WR who looks like he is going to get consistent snaps this year is Rondale Moore, who will line up in the slot inside of Deandre Hopkins, Marquise Brown and AJ Green.

The one rookie who has the best chance to earn consistent playing time is TE Trey McBride.

Thus, while the Cardinals’ defense is being built through the draft, the Cardinals’ offense has been built primarily through free agency and trades.

All this said,

2021 Arizona Cardinals Offensive Rankings

  • Yards per game: 373.6 (8th – NFL)
  • Passing Yards Per Game: 251.5 (10th – NFL)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 121.1 (10th – NFL)
  • Points Per Game: 26.4 (11th – NFL)

Whether you appreciated looking at these comparisons, or not, one thing is clear —- as Cardinals’ fans, we sure have been treated to some high flying offenses over the years!

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